Welcome and Review of Agenda
BOP chairperson Katie Frederick called the February 7 meeting to order at 8 p.m. Eastern. She read the agenda, and there were no suggested additions or alterations.
Penny called the roll. These members were present: Katie; Deb; Penny; Zelda; Cachet; Cheryl; ACB president Dan Spoone; ACB treasurer, David Trott; and ACB Braille Forum Editor, Sharon Lovering. Neither Jeff Bishop nor Larry Gassman was present, and Rick Morin, who was streaming the Sagebrush Conference, was also absent. Several guests also attended the meeting.
Approval of January Minutes
Zelda moved, and Cheryl seconded a motion to approve minutes from our January meeting. The board voted unanimously to approve the minutes.
Public’s Point of View
Mary Haroyan asked about progress toward meeting the mandate of last summer’s approved resolution to produce every issue of “The ACB Braille Forum” in hard-copy braille. Katie explained that because of budget deficit, the board felt it expedient to delay the goal of producing 12 hard-copy braille issues in 2023. However, ACB is hoping to find a way of achieving this goal, possibly in 2024.
Katie added that ACB Membership plans to reach out to subscribers who do not currently receive the magazine electronically to see if any of those readers might want to convert their subscriptions to the electronic format, which would reduce the expense of producing the magazine. In response to Mary’s suggestion of perhaps creating an additional fund-raiser for “The ACB Braille Forum,” Deb said that, if extra funds are raised, those funds would likely be applied first to reducing the existing deficit.
Deb added that a challenge with the ACB resolutions process is that it doesn’t always take into account whether ACB can actually do what members direct the organization to do, when they want it to be done. A resolution, Deb said, is a statement of intent, and it’s up to the board and leadership to look for ways to meet the intended goal within the fiscal and financial limitations that current circumstances impose on the budgetary process.
Guest Jane Perry said that she wished that the E-Forum would include a column on current advocacy issues. She said that members need to hear about legislative issues more frequently than just during legislative seminar presentations.
Deb responded that ACB tends to address time-sensitive legislative issues within “Dots and Dashes,” which is published twice each month and allows for more timely coverage of legislative issues than would be possible within the Braille Forum, where the publication deadline occurs six weeks before the magazine is actually delivered.
Other, more timely sources for information about pending legislation and other advocacy issues are the Advocacy Update podcast and the Washington Connection.
Penny said that Clark and Swatha update the board on advocacy and legislative issues at virtually every board meeting, and Braille Forum board meeting coverage always includes highlights from their reports. Braille Forum board meeting coverage often reaches subscribers one month after a board meeting has occurred, and sometimes two months later. The Washington Connection, on the other hand, can be updated daily. Sharon said that, when there’s a lot going on legislatively, the Washington Connection toll-free phone line is sometimes updated twice or even three times a week.
In addition, legislative alerts can be – and often are – sent via ACB’s Announce list, when actions need to be taken immediately. The Leadership and ACB-Conversation lists are also used to distribute advocacy information and alerts, especially by ACB’s special-interest affiliates.
Katie said that the BOP needs to spend some time thinking about how to move the “Member at the Mic” interviews forward. Anthony Corona, who attended the meeting, and still has several “Member at the Mic” interviews in the queue waiting for publication, will be participating in this process.
Soon Katie expects to post a Braille Forum article from the 1980s that was related to the creation of ACB Reports. In addition, she hopes to convert a posting recently made to ACB-Conversation that dealt with accommodating people who are blind and visually impaired in health-care settings, to a blog post.
Penny suggested adding a tag line to the “Member at the Mic” posts thanking Lisa Brooks for her excellent transcription. Katie said that Lisa’s transcription services are always mentioned in every “Member at the Mic” blog posting.
Katie reminded the BOP that we had anticipated a BOP member taking on the task of transcribing a “Member at the Mic” blog posting at least once each quarter. Zelda volunteered to provide the transcription for the upcoming February blog. She planned to use automatic transcription now provided as an online Microsoft Word add-on as a basis for her transcription. Zelda will transcribe the February interview, and Cachet will write the summary, with a goal of having the blog up by February 15.
Cachet suggested that the BOP still needs to finalize guidelines related to “Member at the Mic,” defining how members will be selected for interviewing, who will be the interviewer, and who will do what when. We can continue this discussion via e-mail, and, Katie said, her goal will be to have firm blog scheduling plans in place three months ahead.
Katie plans to share statistical information about our blog at the end of each quarter. She shared the statistical summary which describes our blog activity over the course of ACB Voices’ history. See below.
ACB Voices blog stats
- Views: 2,467
- Visitors: 1,057
- Likes: 67
- Comments: 14
- Home Page: 775
- Visperro training series podcast: 272
- Audio Description: Opening the doors: 107
- Audio Description your Way: 96
- Search engines: 248
- Acb.org: 172
- Facebook: 137
- WordPress.com reader: 43
- ACBMedia: 26
- Twitter: 25
- Views: 3,128
- Visitors: 1,501
- Views: 2,134
- Visitors: 979
- Likes: 112
- Comments: 22
- Home Page: 434
- ACB’s Music Man: 127 (the MP3 file has been downloaded 117 times)
- Have we had it wrong all these years? 112
- A special Crafted Friendship: 102
- Introducing Member on the Mic: 80
Referrals: How people found the blog
- acb.org: 135
- Search engine: 135
- Facebook: 119
- AcbMedia.org: 33
- Twitter: 18
- WordPress.com Reader: 16 (anyone know what this is?)
- Views: 97
- Visitors: 75
Penny and Zelda mentioned that they don’t always receive e-mail notifications related to each new blog online posting. Katie will check to make sure they did not fall off the subscribers’ list.
We can optimize our blog’s position in Search Engine results by assuring that we include as many related tags as possible.
Sharon submitted the following report:
Editor’s Report February 2023
Issue type: Hard-copy
Page count: 48
Braille distributed: 483
Braille returned: 3
Braille return rate: 0.6%
Braille received: 480
Cartridge distributed: 408
Large print distributed: 2,114
Large print returned: 26
Large print return rate: 1.2%
Large print received:
Email distributed: 5,045
Email bounces: 30
Return %: 0.59%
Email delivered: 5,015
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 48
Email distributed: 5,105
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 48
Braille to be distributed: 492
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,081
Deadlines for the Next Issues
April 2023: Multicultural Affairs Committee and Candidates Forum information; deadline: February 24, 2023
May 2023: TBA; deadline: March 24, 2023
June 2023: convention; deadline: April 24, 2023
I have completed the March 2023 Braille Forum and sent it off to press. ACB Women came through with a number of good articles. Natalie Barrett came through with a good photo of Don Thomson of Hawaii.
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 found a complete set of 1982 issues, and am scanning and cleaning them up in between deadlines.
If you’ve been part of ACB for awhile, I’d be grateful if you’d take a look around your place and see if you have any large print copies of the Forum from the ‘60s, ‘70s and/or ‘80s. I have a very few loose issues from a small handful of years in the 1980s (’82, ’83, 84, ’88), but none from the ‘60s or ‘70s. I’d rather not have to break the bound volumes open, since binding is expensive.
I am also poring 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.
As part of my work with the awards committee, I have sent the awards landing page, along with several documents which will be linked to that page (what are the ACB awards? Who are ACB’s awards named for?) to Sande at Louisville Web Group for posting. I am working on a couple of other documents, including the BADIE and ADP awards lists, and will send those along as soon as I have them.
Another major project I recently finished is the resolutions index. It is up to date, but the formatting needed an overhaul to make it easier to read. So I tackled that head on, added bullet point lists under sub-topics to make it easier to read, and it is now available at
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
ACB Braille Forum Themes
The Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee (MCAC) has adopted the month of April, and the committee has reached out to everyone in ACB, inviting anyone who wants to, to submit an article talking about their vision of diversity within ACB. Cachet will be reaching out to teachers and students for the month of May. June will provide a convention preview, July can be our potpourri issue once again, September will cover the convention, November will feature the Audio Description Project. Cheryl said that she hopes October’s employment theme can cover several aspects of employment – including vocational rehabilitation, networking, and how looking for work is different today from how it was in the 1970s.
Braille Forum Subscribers Survey
Deb explained that the board would like for the BOP to investigate how many ACB Braille Forum subscribers might be comfortable with switching from hard-copy print or braille, or recorded-on-cartridge formats to the e-mail format. We don’t want to encourage anyone to switch from the format that they prefer to the electronic format unless they really want to. But we know, for example, that some households receive two hard-copy issues of the Forum whereas one hard-copy issue might easily suffice for more than one braille or large-print reader living at the same address. Sometimes many years have passed since a subscriber originally chose a particular format, and as they have become more comfortable with digital/electronic content in the interim, their preference could have changed. It’s a good idea to revisit format choices from time to time, and, depending on results, this could be a painless and relatively easy way for ACB to cut down on publication costs.
Cindy Hollis’ posse is willing to make calls and collect data for the BOP. Penny and Deb will work together to develop a script for the posse, who will develop a spread sheet to track members who wish to switch to the electronic format. The script will also remind subscribers who receive the magazine on cartridge to return cartridges promptly. When we find subscribers who want to switch to the electronic format, we will inform their affiliates about their change in format preference. The project will begin after the D.C. Leadership Conference is over, and Deb expects it to be completed by the time of convention.
Deb will create a promo to let people know about the coming project and that members can expect a call from ACB.
Zelda asked why the E-Forum hasn’t expanded in size to where it was before we adopted new large print guidelines. (For example, the E-Forum published in February of 2022 was 96 pages in length.) We have not yet expanded the size of our E-Forums, but there’s no good reason we shouldn’t take advantage of the (cost-free) expanded space allocation that the e-format gives us. The BOP agreed to publish E-Forums that are the same size they were before we developed new large print guidelines until such time as the board approves producing more than six braille magazines in a calendar year. This will allow us, not only to expand the number of articles in each issue, but also to diversify the topics included in E-Forums. We will tell affiliates adopting a particular month that we expect them to contribute up to a maximum of five articles to “their” issue. The E-Forum will be approximately 20 percent larger than the hard-copy paper magazines.
Job Announcements on ACB-Conversation
Rosanna Beaudrie and Peter Altschul, who are members of the ACB Employment Committee, proposed a pilot program which will last until the end of the summer. The committee will share employment opportunities of particular interest to blind job seekers on the ACB-Conversation e-mail discussion list. They anticipate posting three-to-five announcements in a digest format, on predictable scheduled days each week. They will post information about resources for job seekers and links to employment committee trainings and podcasts, at the end of these employment digests, as well, and they also plan to expand content on the Job Bank pages to include links to job seeking resources and trainings.
During discussion, Sharon said that she posts employment announcements on the “Job Bank” which is found on the ACB web site when she receives announcements where there is enough time for job seekers to apply before closing deadlines become effective. She had just updated the online job bank that day.
January BOP Town Hall Feedback
Katie thanked BOP members for their participation in the town hall meeting. One suggestion from a listener was for the BOP to provide some training regarding copyright law. In response, the BOP decided to explore inviting the ACB attorneys affiliate (AAVIA) to collaborate with the BOP in a presentation at next summer’s convention. Katie will approach AAVIA members to discuss this possibility and to plan a training session or a convention program. We would need to alert the convention committee by the date of March 20, that we plan to produce a training on this topic, as complete program information has to be shared with the convention committee by mid-April.
ACB Media Update
Rick was in Las Vegas, streaming Sagebrush, and there was no ACB Media update at this meeting.
Zelda announced the date for the next editors’ meeting. It will be on March 24, and the topic will be the Washington State Affiliate’s excellent newsletter.
Dan told Penny and Cachet that they will be receiving a Zoom invitation for their participation on March 4 in the D.C. Leadership meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 10:01 p.m. The next meeting of the BOP will be held on March 7.