edited by Sharon Strzalkowski
The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. “The ACB Braille Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Congratulations to Kim Charlson!
Kim Charlson, executive director of the Perkins Library, is this year’s recipient of the Francis Joseph Campbell Award. Given by the Association of Specialized, Government, and Cooperative Library Agencies, the prestigious award honors leaders in library services for people with visual impairments who have made remarkable contributions to the field. The award was presented at the ASGCLA Achievement Awards Ceremony on June 22nd at the ALA annual conference in Washington, D.C.
Braille Institute’s Anaheim Center
The Braille Institute has a new building, called the Anaheim Center, a 14,700-square-foot building on the institute’s existing campus. The new structure includes a 2,500-square-foot learning resource center featuring a library, computer lab, low vision consultation area and counseling space, as well as designated areas for braille reading education and self-defense training. There is also a 2,100-square-foot multipurpose room, four classrooms, an art and ceramics studio, training kitchen and multiple technology labs. Gardens and gathering spots surround the exterior of the building, where there is also a dog run and open-air courtyard.
For more information, visit https://brailleinstitute.org/anaheim.
Visiting Boston This Year?
BlindWays is an app that gives next bus arrival predictions that are even more accurate and reliable for people in the greater Boston area. This app picks up where GPS leaves off – guiding travelers to within a cane’s distance of MBTA bus stop signs, using reliable navigational clues and Bluetooth beacons where available. If you’re visiting the Boston area, and plan to use MBTA transit, download BlindWays from the App Store.
The newest update of BlindWays includes support for the latest iOS version and devices. The next bus arrival predictions are now powered by official MBTA data.
Bosma Names New CEO
Bosma Enterprises has tapped COO Jeffrey Mittman to serve as its next CEO, effective Aug. 1. Having lost his vision while on active military duty in Iraq, Mittman becomes the first chief executive in the organization’s 100-year history who is blind.
Master Sgt. Mittman joined Bosma Enterprises’ board of directors in 2012 and was hired as COO in July 2018. In that role, he has overseen a 25 percent increase in productivity in the organization’s packaging and logistics operations, which last year packaged and shipped more than 480 million exam gloves to Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout the country.
New Accessible Basic Cell Phone Available
Do you remember Odin Mobile and the accessible ODIN VI phone? RAZ Mobility, founded by Robert Felgar, a former Odin Mobile staffer, has a new version of that phone, called Lucia, that allows blind and visually impaired individuals to use a basic mobile phone just like their sighted peers.
The phone has a tactile keypad with big buttons in different colors and shapes, as well as a voice guide that reads what is on the screen and speaks the names of the buttons you’ve pressed. For more information, visit www.razmobility.com.
Braille Poetry Contest Winners
National Braille Press recently announced its poetry contest winners for 2018; the theme was “Nature.” They are:
“I Went On A Nature Walk” by Cooper Jewell
“Autumn” by Charlie Prior
“Untitled” by Refael Shuter
“One of Many” by Cameron Clark
“The Thompson River Flows” by Paul Martz
With over 60 entries to choose from, it was a hard decision. Thank you to all our entrants, and we encourage you to enter future contests! To read the winning poems, visit https://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/newsmedia/index.html.
Libraries of the Year
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (CLP-LBPH) is this year’s Regional Library of the Year, and the Talking Book Center (TBC) in Staunton, Va., is the Subregional Library/Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year.
Outreach was a big part of CLP-LBPH’s success last year. Library employees visited 131 sites in 15 counties, spreading the word about the braille and talking-book program to more than 3,400 people. The library also put an emphasis on multicultural outreach. In an effort to respond to the needs of users, the library translated all of its welcome packet materials into Spanish. It was one of the first large libraries in the NLS network to pilot a new duplication-on-demand program that allows libraries to download audio files from NLS servers and create talking-book cartridges customized with patrons’ requests.
The TBC focused attention on outreach and engagement over the past year, increasing its circulation by 15 percent. In 2018, it began a monthly newsletter and participated in Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, where volunteers brailled visitors’ names on index cards, along with a “wizard word,” then gave them a braille alphabet card to decipher the code. TBC also co-hosted a book reading with local author Phyllis Staton Campbell and created a hands-on exhibit showcasing NLS services going back to its founding in 1931.
Need Some Joy?
Becky Miller has compiled a short book of her favorite scriptures on joy. The book is about 20 pages long, and is available in grade one, grade two, and UEB braille. Contact Becky via phone, (804) 328-1831, or email, [email protected], for more information.
Music From The Heart recently released “GRIT - A Family Memoir on Adversity and Triumph,” by Jeff Moyer.
GRIT tells the story of the Moyer family’s struggle overcoming multiple disabilities and inhuman institutionalization beginning before the Disability Rights Movement changed the American landscape. In 1954, Mark Moyer, Jeff’s younger brother, was born with a severe cognitive disability. Two weeks before Mark was born, Jeff (then age 5) began to lose his vision due to a rare retinal disease.
GRIT follows the parallel stories of Mark’s suffering within state institutions and Jeff’s progressive blindness and maturation as an advocate leader within the Disability Rights Movement. It is available as a print book and e-book; visit jeffmoyer.com for more information.