Call to Order and Introductions
Deb called the meeting to order shortly after 9 p.m. Eastern. Paul was absent for the January meeting, but all other board members were present, as well as Sharon Lovering, editor; Dan Spoone, ACB president; Katie Frederick, Chair of the Public Relations Committee; Debbie Hazelton, Rick Morin, and Jason Castonguay from ACB Radio; and several guests.
Adoption of the Agenda for the January 5, 2021 ACB Board of Publications Meeting
Susan moved and Penny seconded a motion to adopt the meeting agenda as written, and submitted in advance via e-mail, and the motion was adopted unanimously.
Approval of the Minutes for the November 10, 2020 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Zelda moved and Susan seconded a motion to approve minutes from the November 10 BOP meeting with no additions or corrections, and the motion was adopted unanimously.
Open Forum – Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items
No items were presented for discussion.
Email list definitions, guidelines and procedures
In response to a question from Deb, Debbie reported that the ACB Radio team had successfully completed everything they needed to do in order to move all the ACB lists to Groups.io. She said the ball was in the Groups.io court.
Deb summarized where we were in the process of streamlining ACB-L and ACB-Leadership. She reported that ACB-L will be closing soon, and then it will be replaced and renamed as ACB-Conversation. The plan is to subscribe everyone currently on ACB-L, as well as everyone currently on ACB-Leadership, to the new Conversation list. Both the BOP and the Public Awareness Steering Committee have collaborated and reached agreement on list guidelines.
Deb had distributed a draft of the recruitment announcement for ACB-Conversation administrators in advance of the meeting. With minor edits, the BOP agreed to distribute the recruitment announcement and then, in accordance with a motion made by Penny and seconded by Zelda and adopted unanimously, to interview any members who are interested in serving as administrators. Deb said that two people had already spoken to her expressing interest in doing the job. Once interviews have been held, we will hold an executive session at our February meeting, to discuss applications and choose moderators for ACB-Conversation. We expect to select at least two administrators and that they will work with at least one BOP member who will assist with administration duties.
Deb will meet with Rick and Jason to determine the best time for making ACB-Conversation operational on Groups.io. Launch of the new list will be preceded by training for list administrators, an announcement that the Public Affairs Committee will prepare, and a community call, and publicity that will encourage our members to participate in list discussions.
Deb said and everyone on the call agreed that we want our moderators to work together, to be active, and to actively encourage list members to follow the guidelines and to help them to do so. We are looking for administrators who have experience managing lists – not just subscribing and unsubscribing people – but also handling conflict and demonstrating good judgment.
We expect the process for recruiting administrators for the ACB-Leadership list to be different from the process for recruiting administrators for ACB—Conversation, since we expect ACB leaders to have input into the process of selecting moderators for Leadership.
Another outstanding item associated with the process of streamlining our lists and refocusing them on their original intent is the board’s request that the BOP provide some analysis of the Leadership list’s current membership. Deb will begin doing that analysis with Sharon’s and Kim Charlson’s help if needed. That report is due to the board at their February meeting.
BOP Chair’s Report
Deb’s time has been devoted over the past two months to planning for streamlining our e-mail lists and getting the Conversation list started. She has begun to think about convention and the BOP’s role in that.
Dan said that it looks like we will be voting at our 2021 convention. He explained that, within the DC Not-for-Profit Code there is a provision that gives the mayor of Washington, DC, the ability to declare an emergency that would then allow not-for-profits incorporated in DC to bypass the strict constitutional language which requires in-person voting at an annual business meeting. The mayor has implemented the exception related to a declared emergency throughout 2020 and has extended the exemption through March of 2021. It appears that, every three months, her office extends the exception through another three months. The Voting Task Force is anticipating that the emergency exception will be extended through the fall of 2021.
Dan said that the committee has decided on three principles: The first is to adhere to the current ACB constitution as closely as possible. Second, they want to do resolutions like we did them last year, i.e., making them board-approved resolutions. Their concern has to do with having enough time to conduct at least 13 elections, involving both a roll-call and an individual vote for each election contest. They are considering holding the nominating committee meeting before the convention opens, in order to increase available time for elections.
The BOP will have three positions up for election again this year. If everyone whose position is up for re-election chooses to run again, then Deb and Susan may be the only BOP members who will be available to manage the forum where BOP candidates will have an opportunity to interact with voters. We could perhaps consider hosting either two or three forums, either combining officers and board members whose seats are open, or handling each group separately, and another for BOP seats, i.e. we could hold two forums: the first would be for all of last year’s positions (the board members whose seats are up and the BOP members whose seats would have been filled last year), and the second for officers whose seats are up this year.
Or, we could have three forums: A Board Forum, an Officers’ Forum, and a BOP Forum.
We will plan to figure this out at our February meeting.
We normally run the announcement about our Candidates’ Web Pages in the April ACB Braille Forum. Next month’s meeting is when we have to make decisions about the candidates’ pages, i.e., whether or not to include them, how many questions and/or word limits will be associated with each candidate’s page, etc.
Debbie reminded us that, one year, we allowed candidates to record a short promo announcement of their candidacy which ACB Radio then aired, and we can also consider doing that again. These promos will necessarily be shorter in length considering that we will have a minimum of 13 candidates.
We also need to establish the dates for our candidates’ forums, no matter how many we decide to run, so that our affiliates and potential candidates can decide which forums to attend, and so on.
We also need to decide if we are going to host any BOP programming at this summer’s convention. Deb suggested that we might consider providing some programming for affiliate newsletter editors. Zelda said that she could bring up our program for affiliate editors at the next affiliate presidents’ meeting to ask what exactly they would like us to do. She will ask the presidents to provide a list of who their editors are and topics that they might want us to cover.
As discussion continued, the idea of holding a round-table for affiliate editors in advance of convention to find out what topics are of interest to them emerged. If we did this, we would plan on holding it in March.
BOP Editor’s Report: Update on ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum Themes
Sharon submitted the following report in writing in advance of the meeting:
Editor’s Report, December 2020
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 80
Large print distributed: 2,311
Large print returned: 19
Return rate: 0.8%
Large print received: 2,292
Braille distributed: 651
Braille returned: 5
Return rate: 0.8%
Braille received: 646
Cartridge distributed: 573
Email distributed: 4,955
Email received: 4,670
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 4,937
Deadlines for the Next Issues
February 2021 (E-Forum) – audio description: December 21st
March 2021(Braille Forum) – low vision: January 25th
April 2021 (E-Forum) – multicultural affairs: February 15th (due to leadership meetings)
I am currently working on the January issue, which focuses on braille. I’ve got some excellent articles, including one from a woman whose mother was a braille transcriber, one from Paul Edwards, one from Dr. Ronald Milliman, and a couple of short stories that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. (Just put down your soda when you read Tyson Ernst’s story about learning to read braille!)
I continue to do the recordings of the information about ACB’s community calls. Each day now has its own separate box on the phone system, which makes it easier for the callers as well as for me. I don’t have to worry about running out of time trying to fit two days’ worth of information into one box. (And I did – several times.)
One long-term project I’m spending a fair bit of time on in between issues is getting copies of the Forum digitized, cleaned up and modernized to current large print standards, and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive (at the moment, from the 1990s through today). I’m including Word, text and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. I am nearly finished with 2003, and have 1990 through 2002 yet to work on. Then, when I get through those issues, I’ll go back and look at the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, scan what I can, and go from there. It’s been fascinating so far.
Another long-term project I continue to work on is identifying people in old convention photos. It’s been a bit challenging with some of the photos.
One item I usually forget to mention is ACB’s Job Connection, our online job bank. I’m currently working on the December update, and hope to have that ready to roll by the 14th. I get job listings from various sources – Department of Justice, various states’ Lighthouses for the Blind (South Texas is prolific), and other departments and organizations.
I still record the Washington Connection. I am working with Clark and Claire to get it updated again.
I will be out of the office December 17th and 18th, working from home the afternoon of the 18th.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Sharon added that she was able to complete the February Braille Forum.
The BOP spent some time coming up with themes for May and June. May’s theme will be “All Things Books,” covering our reading experiences, libraries and how they have evolved, newer ways of accessing books, preferences for specific formats for different types of reading materials, book clubs online and off, etc. We will definitely ask LUA for their input as well.
In June, we tentatively named our theme, Get Up and Get Moving. Deb will check with Clark to see where ACB expects to be with respect to that campaign by then.
Debbie spoke about the ongoing transition with Rick’s new ACB Radio responsibilities, as well as the ongoing ACB Radio streaming of ACB affiliate conventions.
There were no available statistics for e-mail or social media at the January meeting. At the upcoming Public Awareness Steering Committee meetings, Deb and Katie plan to coordinate calendar themes with ACB Braille Forum themes. Implementing the communications plan will continue to be goals for both the Steering Committee and the Board of Publications, and Dan said that because of the ACB Board’s approval of hiring someone to fill the communications and marketing coordinating position, we hope to fill that position by the end of March. That will be another resource that will be very well integrated with the responsibilities of the Board of Publications.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned shortly before 11 p.m. Eastern. The next meeting of the Board of Publications is scheduled for February 2, 2021.
Submitted by Penny Reeder, Member, ACB Board of Publications