Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation several months ago, staying on top of the news can be a daunting task. One of AFB’s main goals is to keep people who are blind or who have low vision and their families up to date on the policy issues that affect us all. With this in mind, here are a few recent news stories we found particularly interesting.

** Editor's note: We will continue to update this post as we create and gather additional resources. Bookmark this page and check back often! **

As everyone adjusts to our new reality of working from home while simultaneously homeschooling our children, AFB staff have pulled together some online resources that may be helpful.

As a means of consuming literature, learning, and communicating, braille has remained the biggest game changer in the history of inventions for people who are blind. It is only fitting then, that we celebrate the United Nations' recent resolution designating January 4 of every year as World Braille Day.

The American Foundation for the Blind was pleased to learn that the Librarian of Congress had approved the US Copyright Office’s recommendation to exempt certain classes of works from copyright restrictions to improve access to those works by people who are blind or visually impaired.

Mark Richert Mark Richert, AFB's Director of Public Policy

A hearty kudos to the United States Senate for ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty—unanimously, I might add—and passing its implementing legislation, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559), which aims to facilitate access to materials in a specialized format to eligible individuals, including and especially individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Mark Richert Mark Richert, AFB's Director of Public Policy

Every year on April 23, the world comes together to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors. World Book and Copyright Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to encourage everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading.

Illustration of Louis Braille

Every January 4, we celebrate the birthday of Louis Braille, who developed his famous braille code when he was only a teenager. Learn more about the creation of the braille code by exploring AFB's Louis Braille Online Museum.

The American Foundation for the Blind's recognition of the importance of braille has been a constant throughout the 95 years of our existence.

Frontispiece of The Story of My Life

We are delighted that our next post in this series of posts devoted to the Helen Keller Digitization project is contributed by Susan Pearce, a volunteer transcriber, and a very valued member of our "Captains of Transcription" team.

From Susan Pearce, transcriber:

Mark Richert

“At the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), we have worked for nearly a century to break down societal barriers and eliminate discrimination by achieving equal access to the world of copyrighted works. But for all the promise of technology to provide equal access to copyrighted works, the copyright laws that protect those works have sometimes served to impede that technology.”