NLS Operations Alert


No. 19-22


DATE         :   April 8, 2019

TO             :   Network libraries

FROM        :   Karen Keninger, Director

SUBJECT   :   Braille eReader status update



The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) will in 2020 take the first steps on a program that will expand access to braille books and magazines for NLS patrons.


Next year NLS will launch a pilot project of refreshable braille devices known as braille eReaders. These braille eReaders will be designed to enable patrons with Internet access to immediately download thousands of braille titles and provide portability, empowering them to enjoy braille content anywhere.


For this first phase of the project, NLS has awarded the contract to manufacture the braille eReader to Humanware and Zoomax in partnership with experts from Baum Projects.


NLS plans to introduce the braille eReader in 2020 with a phased pilot project designed to collect feedback from patrons and network libraries on the functionality of the device and to test the distribution processes of network libraries. The first phase of the pilot will include a small number of braille-lending libraries. The pilot is expected to be implemented in mid-to-late FY20.


Following this phased pilot, the long-term goal, which is dependent on receiving funding from Congress, is to roll out the braille eReader to all NLS braille patrons in the United States and its territories.


NLS will provide status updates as we get closer to the pilot date. Please contact your network consultant with any questions about the braille eReader.


For more information contact:


MaryBeth Wise

Network Consultant

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Pamela N. Davenport

Network Consultant

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