ACB - Exploring New Worlds: Countdown to Columbus

by Janet Dickelman

The 2013 American Council of the Blind conference and convention is a fantastic week of programs, exhibits, tours, and fun.  It all gets under way on Thursday, July 4 and doesn't end until Friday, July 12.  Our convention home is the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, located at 350 N. High St.
The serious side of the 2013 ACB conference and convention is packed with outstanding workshops, seminars, exhibits, and programs. Whether you are a teacher or rehabilitation counselor; if you are looking for a new job; if you use technology; if you can use new tips and ideas to improve your professional or everyday life, the 2013 ACB conference and convention is where you want to be.
Begin planning your week with ACB. Below is a synopsis of the week's schedule; there's much, much more to come. Pre-registration and the acbconvention e-mail list will include many more events and details. Join the acbconvention e-mail list by sending a blank message to
Please note:  Events listed here are subject to change. To save space, most groups are mentioned only on the first day of their programming; additional days are shown in parentheses.

Friday, July 5

  • ACB pre-convention board meeting
  • ACB Information Access seminar
  • Keys to the Convention seminar (repeated on Saturday)
  • Welcome to Columbus Party
  • Student welcome party (more student activities throughout the week)
  • Milly's Place Pin Swap (Blind Lions, other events Monday and Wednesday)

Saturday, July 6

  • Exhibits open (through Wednesday)
  • ACB Walk
  • NABT breakfast and meeting (teachers, other events on Monday and Tuesday)
  • Special meetings for attorneys (through Monday), blind vendors (also Sunday and Monday), and information technology specialists (through Monday)
  • ACB board of publications meeting
  • Diabetics lunch and workshop (other activities on Wednesday)
  • Mixers held by Government Employees (ACBGE, also on Wednesday),  people with low vision (CCLVI, through Monday), Friends-in-Art (FIA, other activities through Tuesday), and Blind LGBT Pride (activities throughout the week)
  • ACB opening keynote general session

Sunday, July 7

  • General session (mornings through Wednesday and all day Thursday)
  • IVIE breakfast meeting (luncheon and meeting on Tuesday and small business expo on Wednesday)
  • ACB Youth Activity Center (all-day fun for kids through Thursday)
  • Special events for teens (through Thursday)
  • Multicultural lunch and program (Mid-week Jam on Tuesday)
  • Special meetings and activities for library users (also Tuesday), guide dog users (through Wednesday)
  • Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss lunch and program (also Tuesday)
  • ACB Women's Concerns (other activities through Thursday)
  • Employment Issues Task Force
  • ACB seminars (TBA)
  • ACB Recreation Zone (through Wednesday, healthy and fun options)
  • Afternoon tours (different venues every day through Wednesday)
  • Tech user groups and product spotlights (through Tuesday)
  • Evening activities (ACB Families fun, CCLVI game night, RSVA auction and karaoke, FIA prose and poetry reading, etc.)

Monday, July 8

  • Special programming for braille users and supporters of braille (through Wednesday)
  • ACB Rehab Task Force and Education Task Force seminars
  • FIA Performing Arts Showcase

Tuesday, July 9

  • ACB employment seminar
  • Legislative and National Education & Legal Defense Service (NELDS) workshops
  • ACB Auction

Wednesday, July 10

  • ACB membership seminar and board of publications workshop
  • Affiliate presidents' meeting
  • ACB Audio Description Project training (through Friday)

Thursday, July 11

  • ACB all-day business session
  • ACB banquet

Friday, July 12

  • ACB post-convention board meeting

Exhibits, Advertising and Sponsorships

Information for these important opportunities is listed in the March Forum and on our web site at Follow the links to register as a sponsor, advertiser, or exhibitor, or for a table at Marketplace.
Convention sponsorships, advertising and booth reservations must be received by May 15 in order to appear in the official conference and convention program.
Contact Michael Smitherman (exhibits) at (601) 331-7740, or Margarine Beaman (advertising and sponsorships) at (512) 921-1625.

Scheduling Events

Special-interest groups, ACB committees, and others wishing to sponsor programs or activities at the conference and convention should submit all information for the pre-registration form IMMEDIATELY. Program details need to be submitted by May 15. Make all arrangements related to events (reserving space, ordering food or A/V equipment, etc.) with Janet Dickelman.

Hotel Reservations

Room rates are $89 per night (plus tax) for up to four people. Visit our web site at and follow the 2013 conference and convention link to find a link for Hyatt reservations. Or make reservations by telephone at 1-888-421-1442. Make certain to mention that you are with the American Council of the Blind.


The Mega Bus stops across the street from the Hyatt Regency. The Greyhound bus station is eight blocks away.
For those flying to Columbus, Arch Express has agreed to provide ACB with a special shuttle rate of $17 one-way, $22 round-trip, from Port Columbus airport to the Hyatt Regency. These rates must be booked in advance and prepaid. The shuttle will leave every half hour from the airport and from the hotel.
Paratransit services in Columbus are provided by the Central Ohio Transit Authority. To use this service, fax your name, phone number and either a copy of the approval letter with expiration date on your transit authority's letterhead, or a copy of the front and back of your ADA picture ID (showing its expiration date). Send the fax to Tonia L. Pullins at (614) 272-3015.
Paratransit rides can be made up to a week in advance. To book a ride, call (614) 272-3033. Rides should be scheduled at least a day in advance; same-day rides are not guaranteed. Rides are $3.50 each way; same-day rides cost an additional $1.50 per ride.
For convention questions or special concerns, contact Janet Dickelman, ACB convention committee chair, at (651) 428-5059 or by e-mail, Or call the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.