The first half of the 20th century saw improvements for readers who depended on touch and hearing to access books and information. Braille won out after several decades of competition among various embossed print systems, although the CNIB Library continued to support members who read with other raised print systems. Reading by ear was revolutionized by the invention of talking books. Now readers with vision loss who hadn’t learned, or didn’t use embossed print could enjoy books without depending on someone to read to them.
CNIB assisted with other forms of access to reading and information as well, including smoothing the path to acquiring and using radio, and investigating the potential of other inventions -- encouraging those with potential, and giving thumbs down to some over-hyped failures.
This era -- the first half of the 20th century -- predates any “right to read” for blind Canadians. Access to books and information in alternative formats depended on the availability and cost of technology and training. Nevertheless, these years brought huge improvements in access and the CNIB Library played a major role in those improvements.