BRAILLE GRADE 3 The code was taught as a distant-learning course by Hadley School for the Blind up to a few years ago. APH have instruction books in stock last printed in 1976 of text revised 50 years ago in one case and 80 years ago in another; however their teaching staff do not recognise that literature in grade 3 was ever available other than for taking short-hand notes. The librarian at Perkins cannot remember any enquiries regarding grade 3 during her eight years in post.

Internet search of BANA, BAUK and enquiries from ACB, CNIB, RNZFB, RNIB (research library), Scottish Braille Press and recent debate on three internet Braille interest groups have been unrewarding. I am now in the position of considering myself the sole user of the code. I have asked BAUK if there are any records available of their meetings in the period 1900-1930 which might mention grade 3; I have asked at NLB(Stockport) who inform me that RNIB/NLB recently recruited an archivist who might be able to help. I await their responses.

After explaining my extensive enquiries I inform you that 15 years ago I taught myself Braille grade 3 from textbooks obtained from APH. I can certainly vouch that grade 3 has been used in a past era as a means of communication as I read every day from NLB library books. I read books of 130 pages(1 volume) and books of 450 pages(6 volumes), some classics, some contemporary at the time they were written – I have read books dated 1910 up to, but not later than, 1930. I have a verbal agreement that I can keep books when I have read them as there is never enquiry from other potential readers.

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I see no reason why the code should die which it will do – by neglect; it is harder to master than grade 2 but I did it and I know a student in US who has shown an interest in following my foot-steps. In the bicentenary year of the birth of Louis Braille, I suggest to RNIB that an effort should be made to retain what is part of our heritage by appointing a custodian to look after Braille grade 3. I am prepared to take on this honorary position and in return ask that I be allowed free access to the library to continue my researches.


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