Just as VHS competed with Betamax, and compact cassette tapes won out over 8-track, raised print text had its own format wars, known as “The War of the Dots.” Braille itself had several adaptations. One was American modified braille, which was taught at some U.S. schools for the blind. The configuration of dots in this version corresponded to different print letters and letter combinations than British braille which used Louis Braille’s original alphabet, adapted to English, and was also in use in Canada. New York Point and American braille had passionate adherents who fought vigorously for their respective systems.
In the early years of the Canadian Free Library for the Blind, New York Point had dominated, as it was the system founder E.B.F. Robinson was most familiar with. But by 1912, the Library began to acquire more braille titles, especially British braille, to be able to serve more readers. By 1915, Library leaders were on record as favouring British braille. Chief Librarian Sherman Swift believed British braille books had better production values than the New York Point volumes purchased from the U.S.