Welcome and Review of Agenda
Katie called the April 4 meeting of the BOP to order at 8 p.m. Eastern. She read the agenda aloud, and the agenda was adopted as submitted.
Penny called the roll. Cachet was absent, and all other elected and appointed members of the Board of Publications were present, as well as several guests. Deb was present in her ex officio capacity as president of ACB. Dan was also present, in his new capacity as interim executive director. David was not present, nor was Rick, but Larry was present and later provided the ACB Media update.
Approval of March Minutes
Zelda moved acceptance of the minutes from the March meeting, and Cheryl seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Public’s Point of View
No guest offered a comment or a question at this point in the meeting.
Braille Forum Editor’s Report
Sharon had submitted the following report in advance of the meeting:
Editor’s Report April 2023
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 48
Braille distributed: 492
Braille returned: 1
Return rate: 0.2%
Braille received: 491
Cartridge distributed: 404
Large print distributed: 2,081
Large print returned: 10
Return rate: 0.48%
Large print received: 2,071
Email distributed: 5,215
Email bounces: 58
Return rate: 1.11%
Electronic received: 5,157
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 48
Email distributed: 5,365
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 48
Braille to be distributed: 507
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,154
Email to be distributed: TBA
Deadlines for the Next Issues
June 2023: convention; deadline: April 24, 2023
July 2023: hodgepodge issue; deadline: May 26, 2023
August 2023: theme TBA; deadline: June 23, 2023
September 2023: convention wrap-up issue; deadline: July 24, 2023
The May issue has gone to press as I pull together this report. The teachers really came through with a batch of good articles! Some will have you in stitches; others will make you think. The April E-Forum went out via email on March 31st.
I also sent out the list of Freeman and Henley nominees today, along with the three Henley nominees. There were no nominations for the Liggett award. If you didn’t receive those items, please let me know.
I continue to work with the history and oral archives committee on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, and identifying people in photos. As part of that work, I am working on cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to the large print standards and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive (at the moment, from the 1990s through today, plus a few from the 1980s that I had loose copies of). I’m including Word, text, and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. I’ve completed 1982 and uploaded those issues. I also found a nearly complete set of 1983 issues, and am cleaning them up in between deadlines. If anyone has a December 1983 print issue of the Forum, I’d appreciate it if you could send it to me at the office. I have completed January through March, June, July and September of 1983, and have uploaded them to the Sharepoint site.
I continue to pore through minutes of ACB board meetings, looking for motions that led to policies/policy changes, and documenting them in a Word file. I have completed 1980 through 1987 so far, and am working on 1988.
In my spare time, I continue working to identify people in prior years’ convention photos. I’m currently working my way through 2011. I also have a hard drive with numerous historical photos on it that I will match up with my descriptions lists as time permits.
I continue to record the Washington Connection, and some of the other boxes on our phone system, such as the national convention box, the scholarship information, and the state convention box.
But the biggest project of all this month is the national office move. We will be moving the last week of April, and we’re all working diligently to weed out, clean, and pack what we need to pack (such as the hard-copy versions of the Forum on my bookshelves, both braille and print, and the hardbound copies of each year), fragile items, etc. Stay tuned for further details!
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Sharon said that the national office will be focusing on their pending move to a new location in Alexandria during the month of April, packing up, organizing, and generally making things ready for the movers.
Zelda said she was surprised to see that April was kept at 48 pages, since it is an electronic issue, and we had decided earlier this year to expand the size of our E-Forums to 64 pages.
The BOP agreed to expand future E-Forums to 64 pages until ACB’s budget makes it possible to provide 12 hard-copy braille issues. The June E-Forum will be expanded to 64 pages.
Sharon reported that teachers had submitted exceptionally interesting articles for the May issue.
Dan complimented Sharon on the statistical information she provides each week, regarding the number of phone calls to the Washington Connection and the Community Daily Schedule. He said he wanted to make the BOP aware of how important those additional communications channels are to our members. There are easily between 20 and 30 calls each day, he said.
Braille Forum Themes
No one could remember any theme we had selected for our August issue. After discussion, travel emerged as a suggested theme. This topic could include a variety of focuses, e.g., post-pandemic travel, ride-share denials, or accessible excursions.
These are the monthly themes that we have selected so far:
June – Convention.
July – Potpourri.
August — Travel.
September – Convention Wrap-Up.
October – Employment, Vocational Rehabilitation, White Cane Safety Day.
November – Audio Description.
December – International Relations.
2023 Awards Deadline
Sharon said that in order to submit content to National Braille Press for the award plaques, BOP members need to get our votes in, to her, by May 15. This will leave us enough time for a run-off vote if that is needed, and for composing the wording on the plaques.
2023 Convention BOP Items
After discussing several options, the BOP agreed to name the convention newspaper “The Schaumburg Standard.”
We decided to try to schedule the BOP’s Mix and Mingle in-person convention event for 4:00 PM Central time on Monday of convention week.
The BOP decided against holding a BOP meeting at convention. The ACB constitution mandates that the BOP will hold a meeting which is open for ACB members to attend, at least once a year. Traditionally, this meeting was held at convention. Now, however, all of our meetings are public and open for members to attend via ACB Media as well as Zoom, and there is no longer an obligation for us to hold a BOP meeting at convention. Especially since a meeting at this year’s convention would probably need to be an in-person only meeting, thus excluding members who cannot attend convention, it would be inappropriate for us to hold a meeting at convention.
Braille Forum Preference Survey Update
Deb and Penny had not had an opportunity to get together to work on creating and planning for the telephonic survey, but they planned to get together the next day. They will share the proposed survey call script with the BOP online. Cindy Hollis will be lining up the people who will be able to make the calls and compile the data.
The BOP plans to hold a community call to let people know about the survey, why we’re doing it, and so Braille Forum subscribers won’t be surprised when they receive a call.
On the community call, we can also encourage people who know they are happy with the format they are receiving to call us and let us know that we don’t need to call them to verify that information.
Deb said that she received a letter from the ACB special-interest affiliate, Braille Revival League (BRL), in which they expressed their concern regarding the Board’s decision not to fund 12 braille issues of the Forum (despite the resolution which was adopted at last year’s convention which would have mandated that change), and about the proposed survey, as well. They expressed their apprehension that surveyors would bias members against subscribing to the (more expensive) hard-copy formats.
Deb said that exerting that kind of pressure has never been our intention.
Katie and Deb plan to go to the BRL board meeting in May and do what they can to alleviate BRL’s concerns.
Deb said that paper formats are important to ACB and to the BOP as well as the board of directors, and we are committed to providing large print and braille as long as we can.
The last time we did a similar survey, we were not able to reduce the number of paper subscriptions, and that may well still be the case now, but the board believes it is important for us to collect that data, and that is why we are conducting the telephonic survey.
Zelda summarized, “We just want to cut out the unneeded copies, not the unwanted copies.”
There followed a brief discussion regarding the cost for providing each of the hard-copy formats.
After the meeting Sharon looked up and shared the following statistics in response to a request for that information. Her report follows:
For the large print version, we pay $1.5709 per copy for 2,300 copies (or fewer). Right now we're averaging 2,100 copies per issue, so that comes to $3,298.89, plus $450 for the ink-jetting of the names and addresses on the backs of each issue and the mailing process (sorting for bulk mailing, putting in mail tubs, etc.). Total for one month's worth of issues: $3,748.89.
For the braille, we pay $2.95 per copy for between 600 and 900 copies. Right now, we're averaging 500 copies per issue, so that comes to $1,475.
After receiving Sharon’s report, Zelda followed up with the following analysis:
Large print copies $1.78 (cost per issue plus labeling costs) X 6 copies = $10.71 per year. ($21.42 for 12 issues)
Braille hard copies $2.95 (cost per issue) X 6 copies $17.70 each year. ($35.40 for 12 issues)
The total costs of providing these formats is helpful but I believe the cost per person is compelling and provides sound basis of the wisdom and need of conducting a survey to determine if members are receiving their preferred format and if they are utilizing the format they receive.
ACB Media Update
Larry reported that the California Council of the Blind’s state convention had gone well. The next convention that ACB Media will be streaming will be Arizona’s.
ACB Media is in discussions with the ACB Employment Committee about creating some podcasts that will cover recent interviews and trainings that the Committee has produced.
Rick is currently converting the Spanish-language presentations that took place during the D.C. Leadership Conference to podcasts. Larry is working on converting the English-language presentations to podcasts. They expect to get both online soon.
Dan shared Kelly Gasque’s report that ACB accumulated 1500 hours of viewing on YouTube and 56 new subscribers during the D.C. Leadership meetings, including the currency rally.
There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m. Eastern. The next BOP meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 2.
April 11, 2023