Books at a touch

Updated: 2014-11-05 07:52

By Xing Yi(China Daily)

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Books at a touch

Blind children read books in Braille at the Nanjing Library's reading room for visually impaired people in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo/China Daily]

China Braille Library, the country's only such specialist facility, is working alongside other agencies to take more titles to blind readers. Xing Yi reports.

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Of the more than 400,000 new titles and re-issued books published in China last year, only around 1,400 were in Braille, the system of writing and printing for blind people, devised by the late blind French national Louis Braille.

The lack of Braille books isn't the only obstacle stopping visually impaired Chinese from reading more; there are other problems that need to be addressed by the government, libraries and nonprofit organizations. The role of libraries seems to be crucial here.

Unlike most big libraries in Beijing, which are usually packed with readers, China Braille Library, the country's only library equipped with modern amenities for the blind, seems too spacious and quiet. Often, the librarians themselves are the only readers there.

The library houses almost all of the Braille books in China-around 120,000 copies of more than 3,000 titles. So, clearly the lack of a decent collection isn't the issue.

"The biggest problem for us is how to attract blind people to the library," says Ma Wenli, a senior librarian at China Braille Library. "It's difficult for them to travel long distances."

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