At present, fiction and non-fiction books, periodicals, music, textbooks for schoolchildren, language textbooks, dictionaries, etc. are printed in braille here. The production of braille publications is computerised. After proof-reading, the manuscript from the diskette is sent from the automatic setting machine "Puma" to an aluminium sheet. This manner of printing is used for the publications that are printed in large quantity. If only a limited number of copies is required, braille computer printers are used.
Books from the current production of conventional publishing houses, such as journals and non-fiction books, are made accessible to sight-handicapped young people from elementary to university students, and to respective professional groups of blind and weak-sighted people, in the form of recorded books. There are three recording studios (2 digital and 1 analogue) where the matrix sound tapes are made and then they are copied. Records for the weak-sighted students are produced elsewhere.
The production of the relief graphic is focused on illustrations of books and textbooks for children, and also on the production of illustrated publications (atlases, wall calendars) and postcards.
The annual production amounts to 50 - 60 braille items, including textbooks and music. Recorded books amount to 100 items. There are five braille journals published: Literární pohledy, Záškolák (for schoolchildren), Malý křížovkářský časopis, Křesťanská orientace and Ligilo (an Esperanto journal, which is distributed worldwide). LPB produces 13 braille-printed journals and 5 tape journals, published by Zora publishing house, which belongs to The Union of the Blind and Weak-sighted People (Sjednocená organizace nevidomých a slabozrakých).
LPB also produced 8 tape journals and 2 braille-printed journals that are published by other organisations for the blind.
The LPB library provides lending services by post, personal lending and home lending.
There are 5,000 readers. About one-third of these visit the library in person, and the rest use lending services. In Prague, regular home-lending services are provided for the blind, very old people and those with permanent health difficulties. All of these lendings services are free of charge.
A relatively large group of our readers is presented by blind or weak-sighted musicians. The library publishes music in braille for these people and transcribes music on the basis of individual requests. These services are especially useful for music teachers.
All readers of the library may use the trancription and reading services, or may request enlarged copies of documents of their choice. The library also sells paper, books and music for the blind at a fraction of their production cost.
For many years the greatest interest has been concentrated on tape-recorded books. Most of our readers lost their sight as adults and have difficulty in learning braille and reading braille fluently and fast enough. For many of them, especially soon after they have lost their sight, the recorded book is the first step in finding inner security and welcome way to use the extra time they now have. Recorded books have an almost invaluable therapeutic and rehabilitation importance for them. Even the blind who know braille perfectly often prefer recorded books. They can "read through" the book faster and more comfortably. The books on tape are much smaller and more convenient than large volumes in braille. Unfortunately, this fact brings the risk that those who are oriented to sound perception of the text only, gradually lose their spelling skills and the ability to communicate in writing. To retain the interest of the blind in reading braille, the library publishes interesting titles for children and teenagers, as well as for the adult readers.
The national, scientific, regional and municipal libraries all have special tape departments for blind peoples. On the basis of an agreement with the libraries in Brno, Hradec Králové, Ostrava, Plzeň, Strakonice and Ústí nad Labem, they all get one copy of all recorded books free of charge.
The libraries in Bruntál, Havlíčkův Brod, Chomutov, Jičín, Karlovy Vary, Kladno, Klatovy, Olomouc, Opava, Pardubice, Pelhřimov, Poděbrady, Přerov, Rumburk, Svitavy, Třebíč, Turnov, Uherské Hradiště, Valašské Meziříčí, Vsetín, Zlín, Znojmo and Bratislava get only a certain selection. But on the basis of contract they can order other publications. Damaged tapes are also repaired by LPB.