ACB Announces Election of Its First Woman President
Delegates to the 52nd annual conference of the American Council of the Blind, being held in Columbus, Ohio, elected Kim Charlson of Watertown, Mass., to be the 11th president of the organization.
Kim Charlson is the director of the Braille and Talking Book Library at the Perkins School for the Blind and has been the organization's first vice president for six years. Charlson has been heavily involved in advocacy efforts at the local, state and national levels for many years, including efforts to increase the number of talking ATMs nationwide and to promote audio description in theaters and on television. She is a recognized national and international expert on library services for people with disabilities, braille literacy and information access. She has served on a number of committees for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress, including the Digital Transition Advisory Committee and the Standards Revision Committee.
In the area of special education, she serves as the chair of the Massachusetts Department of Education's Braille Literacy Advisory Council. Charlson is a member of the Massachusetts Help America Vote Act Steering Committee representing the concerns of voters who are blind.
"It is truly an honor to be elected ACB president," Charlson said. "The support I have already received from the membership has been very rewarding and totally amazing. There is so much advocacy work to do, and I am grateful that so many people want to help work on all of these important issues."
Charlson has served ACB in many capacities over the years, including as chair of the membership committee, and chaired the board of publications from 1999-2001. She is currently the chair of ACB's Audio Description Project and is working on ACB's strategic planning initiative. She is ACB's representative to the Braille Authority of North America, which is the standard-setting body for braille in the U.S. and Canada, and serves as one of ACB's two representatives to the World Blind Union North American/Caribbean Regional board. She has also served as the president of several ACB affiliates, including the Braille Revival League, Guide Dog Users, Inc., and the Bay State Council of the Blind.
Her writing activities include: editing "The BRL Memorandum," magazine of the Braille Revival League; contributor of the chapter on "Braille Library Services" in the Library of Congress book entitled "Braille: Into the Next Millennium," September 2000; author of "Establishing a Braille Literacy Program in your Community: A Handbook for Libraries and Other Community Organizations," May 1996; contributing author to "Making Theater Accessible: A Guide to Audio Description in the Performing Arts," June 2001; and co-author of a chapter on audio description in the book "Video Collection Management and Development: Perspectives for Multiple Types of Libraries, 2nd edition," published by Greenwood Publishing Group in 2002. More recently, she wrote the book "Drawing with Your Perkins Brailler," which is available in print and braille from Perkins Products.