Call to Order/Introductions
The August meeting was called to order by BOP Chair, Deb Lewis at 9:04 P.M., ET, on September 3, 2019, via ZOOM conference meeting.
Members present: Deb Lewis, Chair; Zelda Gebhard; Penny Reeder; Paul Edwards; Susan Glass; Dan Spoone, ex officio; David Trott, ex officio; Jeff Bishop, ex officio; Bob Hachey, ex officio; Katie Frederick, ex officio.
ACB employees and contractors present: Sharon Lovering.
Guests: Christine Chaikin, Debbie Hazelton, Cynthia Hawkins, Doug Hunsinger, Nancy Lynn.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda for the September 3, 2019 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications had been sent via the BOP and ACB Leadership e-mail discussion lists. Deb read the draft agenda aloud. Deb corrected the date for the next BOP meeting; it should have read, “October 1, 2019.” Paul moved and Penny seconded the motion to approve the agenda with the meeting date correction and no additions. The motion was adopted unanimously.
Approval of Minutes of the August 13, 2019 Meeting
Jeff had not had a chance to read over the minutes and said that, if he finds that the items concerning ACB Radio need correction, he will send the corrections in. Hearing no corrections, Paul moved and Susan seconded the motion to approve the minutes, and the motion was adopted unanimously.
Open Forum: Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items:
Doug said that he had sent a request to ACB Radio to stream the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind convention, but he had not received a reply. Jeff responded that he has not seen that request. Requests for streaming conventions have been submitted via a forum (linked to PayPal for payment), which was sent to Larry’s personal e-mail address. The process for making requests needs to be re-considered and evaluated. Dan said that the topic will be added to the agenda for the next ACB Management Meeting.
Deb and Jeff agreed that affiliates planning fall conventions will need notification as soon as possible regarding whether ACB Radio can stream their conventions.
Paul said that he hopes ACB Radio can continue to find a way to stream conventions, and general consensus was that making conventions available via ACB Radio is a valuable service. Deb said that if ACB Radio doesn’t currently have the resources available to stream upcoming conventions, she is sure that interruption in this service will be only temporary.
People of Vision Future Publication and Formats:
Carla Ruschival has submitted the following request for the ACB Board of Publications endorsement of a project to modernize formats in which ‘People of Vision’ can be made available to people who wish to purchase the book. Here is Carla’s request:
ACB published "People of Vision" in 2001. Formats included standard print, braille, cassette tape, and CD with a text file. The ACB Mini Mall receives requests for the book, but customers are frustrated by the lack of current updated accessible formats. To alleviate this problem, we would like to issue an NLS cartridge and a flash drive containing the following formats:
- Braille BRF files (Kim can obtain them for us);
- Text and Word files (Sharon can provide those);
- Audio files, created from the ACB recording on cassette (digitized by Dave and Deb Trevino).
The new product will be listed in the October catalog as “Coming soon.”
Files will be organized by chapter for the reader's convenience. The sale price will be in the $25 to $30 range. We hope the Board of Publications agrees that this is an undertaking that will help ACB to keep its history alive and accessible to future readers.
The following discussion ensued. Jeff asked that the motion be amended to allow for ACB Radio to air portions of the book on ACB Radio. Deb pointed out that the ACB Mini Mall wants to sell the book. Paul said that he doesn’t believe the two venues are mutually exclusive. For one thing, many of our members who access ACB Radio via phone may find it very difficult to purchase the book. The book is already available (free of cost) from BARD in audio as well as braille. So, making the book available via ACB Radio might not affect sales of the book in any significant way.
David agreed with Paul and pointed out that people who buy the newly formatted book are probably going to purchase it as a “collectors’ item.” Making the book available on ACB Radio would inform people who might not even know about the book otherwise.
Debbie Hazelton suggested that ACB Radio could air excerpts from ‘People of Vision’ and then promote the book’s availability through the Mini Mall at the close of each excerpt.
Paul added that airing an excerpt from the book could be connected to a panel discussion concerning a relevant topic.
Deb asked if anyone on the BOP thought that allowing ACB Radio to air excerpts from the book was a bad idea. No one did.
Paul moved that the BOP endorse production of the tri-partite flash drive to include braille, print and audio versions of ‘People of Vision,’ and that the audio files be made available to ACB Radio for possible use.
Penny seconded the motion. The motion was adopted unanimously.
Discussion of ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum Themes:
Susan said that a computer crash had prevented her from forwarding the themes we have agreed upon to the Leadership list, but she can do so within the next 24 hours.
Deb said that we have themes through March, and she would like for us to identify themes for the next three months at this meeting.
April is an E-forum month. We agreed to make weather the theme for April. May is a mini-theme issue, and we agreed to make gardening the theme for May.
The theme for June will be Weddings.
Deb said that she has been reviewing contracts for prior years, and that the process is underway for requesting bids and selecting vendors for the coming two years.
Deb said that the number of braille and large print issues we have been purchasing has decreased because of the success of other formats. We will be able to request quotes for a smaller number of issues. However, the size of the magazine has increased. These changes will be reflected in our requests for bids.
Paul endorsed our traditional process of writing contracts for “X Amount with a mutual right to extend.” He added that the longer the duration of a contract is, the further ahead (financially) we will be.
Bob wondered how we have been doing with respect to getting readers to return cartridges. Deb explained that Perkins handles that process, and we have arrived at a point where letters are about to be sent out to subscribers who have not returned cartridges. Sharon remembered that there are approximately 270 cartridge subscribers (out of about 900) who will receive letters explaining that until they return used cartridges, they will not be receiving next issues.
We will follow up to think about ways to address the challenge of cartridges that are not being returned.
Continued discussion of BOP 2019-20 Strategic Plan:
The BOP agreed at our August 13 meeting that the BOP will continue including many of the items that constituted our work plan for last year and that we will bring two additional items forward. One item that requires our focus is the evolving role of the BOP, especially as our role reflects increasing collaboration with diverse ACB publication and communication activities. A second focus will be defining ways in which we can serve our membership better, and this can include hosting seminars, providing training, or finding other ways to become more involved with the publication-related needs of our members.
Paul agreed to chair a subcommittee that will propose various activities related to achieving these goals, and determine when we should plan to conduct these activities. Other members of the subcommittee are Susan Glass and Debbie Hazelton. Their plan is to have a report ready for the BOP to discuss at the October BOP meeting.
The ACB Board has begun to consider some organizational restructuring of ACB, with the goals of improving communications between committees, taskforces, staff, and boards ,and defining goals in ways that allow us to look at budgetary allocations in terms of function and workstream.
There are nine key programs and services under which ACB activities can be categorized: (1) The convention; (2) Advocacy; (3) Member Services; (4) Information, Referral and Peer Support; (5) Scholarships and Awards; (6) The Audio Description Project; (7) Public Awareness; (8) Administration and Management; and (9) Development/Fund-Raising. Our boards and committees, special interest affiliates, and staff members perform overlapping functions in terms of these discrete functional categories. Instead of thinking of our existing 30-plus committees and task forces as autonomous entities, the goal is to define the work of these entities in terms of these nine key categories. The work of any committee should tie to our key programs and services.
The largest expenditure that ACB has is for public awareness. We spend about $260,000 each year on public awareness. However, right now, we don’t have one single staffperson who is dedicated to public awareness. We have an opportunity, with this kind of structural reorganization, to achieve consensus on defining, prioritizing, and achieving public awareness with respect to the work performed by all of the ACB members, special interest affiliates, committees, task forces and boards who need to make the public aware of their achievements.
Dan said that committees work most efficiently when they have defined goals and objectives that they are working to achieve, and they can really see that they’ve met those goals, and they can feel good about what they’ve accomplished.
Deb said that it seems like we need an overall communications plan. Dan responded that a communications and marketing plan should be a primary goal of our Public Awareness program.
Katie talked about the fragmented nature of communications throughout the organization and said that figuring out when, and where, and how to utilize the various communications channels is a worthwhile goal.
Paul asked if Dan is proposing using the Audio Description process – which defines objectives at the beginning of each year, measures these objectives and sometimes amends them during the course of a year, and then evaluates their achievement at the end of the year – as a model for how he hopes other groups will operate. Dan responded that in general, that is a good approach, i.e., where you bring a steering committee together, you set objectives, you get the workstream committees to agree to the goals, and then you evaluate your progress at the end of the year.
He said that Susan can speak to this successful approach as a member of the Audio Description Project Committee.
Deb, Paul, and Dan agreed that the BOP has also taken this approach over recent years, and it has been successful.
Dan says, when a committee writes down their goals – and they’re Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Reasonable, and Time-Based (SMART), they’re more likely to achieve those goals. Deb said that the BOP may have a role in training leaders to embrace the SMART goals approach, and Dan said that another important component of this cultural change is assuring that everyone is speaking the same language.
Deb said that we will visit the BOP’s role in ACB’s restructuring after the board focuses on the topic at the fall board meeting. So, at our November meeting, we can expect to spend time on defining how and where the BOP can participate and facilitate the process.
BOP Editorial Policy—discussion of partial terms:
Deb distributed the BOP Editorial Manual, with a lot of clean-up and formatting changes to the BOP via the e-mail discussion list. She is still working on the appendices. She needs to work with Bob on the appendices related to the e-mail lists, because they still need some revision to bring them up to date with current practices.
She expressed confusion about the manual’s definition of a partial term. She wondered, if a person is elected to the BOP in a year when BOP members are not normally elected, will that person’s first year of service be counted as a whole term or a partial term?
Jeff said, if you serve a partial term on the ACB Board, it doesn’t count against you (as a full term would).
Paul said, that’s also the way it works for the Board of Publications, as well.
So, if Zelda has to run next year (which she does), she will be running for her first term on the Board of Publications.
Deb thanked Paul and Jeff for the clarification. Right now, there’s a statement in the Policy Manual that says no one can serve more than six years, but that’s not true. Actually a BOP member could serve for seven years.
BOP Chair’s Report:
Deb distributed the BOP Chair’s Report via the BOP e-mail discussion list, as follows:
ACB Board of Publications: Report from the Chair, August 2019
- Met with ACB Executive Director Eric Bridges, Editor Sharon Lovering and Media Specialist Kelly Gasque. As we move forward with a global thinking process, Kelly will be joining our monthly chats.
- Continued review of existing production contracts and letters previously used to solicit proposals for the magazines.
- Participated in various subgroup meetings of the ACBRadio management team working on the reorganization of ACB Radio
- Made final edits and cleanup of BOP Editorial Policy and distributed all but the appendix which still needs discussion. Conversation with Carla regarding future formats for People of Vision—on agenda.
Paul moved and Penny seconded acceptance of the report. The motion was adopted unanimously.
BOP Editor’s Report:
Sharon submitted her editor’s report to the BOP e-mail discussion list, as follows:
Nutshell Report September 2019
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Electronic distributed: 6,768
Electronic returned: 2
Electronic received: 6,766
Return rate: 0%
Other returns: 1 braille (from January), 4 large print, 10 photocopies of envelopes/back covers of the magazine
Issue type: Hard copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 689
Cartridge distributed: 681
Large print distributed: 2,471
Electronic distributed: 6,781
Deadlines for the rest of the year:
November 2019 (hard copy): September 23, 2019
December 2019 (electronic): October 25, 2019
I am currently working on the October issue, and hope to have it out the door by Friday, Sept. 6th. I spoke with Sharon Strzalkowski on Aug. 28; she informed me that she will not be able to continue doing the Here and There column, due to new responsibilities as LUA Ledger editor, her impending retirement, and a couple of other issues. She plans to handle it until I can find somebody new. I plan to put an announcement in the November Here and There column.
I am also working on cleaning up the text file of “People of Vision,” turning it into a Word file. It’s amazing how many unusual characters the conversion to Word inserted in the file! Carla Ruschival plans to put the different file types on either thumb drives or SD cards and include them in the Mini Mall catalog, with the aim of getting people to read the ACB history again. I’ve finished the initial cleaning (i.e., removing all the carats, the “O”s and “A”s with accent marks, etc.) of chapters 1 through 10, plus several of the appendices. I will have to format headlines, hyperlink the chapters to the table of contents, and more. I hope to be finished with everything by October 1.
I continue to work on identifying people in the convention photos I have on CD. I’m still working on the 2008 photos, and will pick them up again once I complete the cleaning, formatting and so forth on the Word version of “People of Vision.”
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Jeff thanked Debbie Hazelton for all of her help, working on the ACB Radio Management Team, and behind-the-scenes on developing programming and content strategy.
Rick Morin has completed nearly all of the convention-related work for the convention archive. ACB Radio has distributed 95 percent of the convention content that is available. They ‘re still waiting for three affiliates to give them permission to distribute their convention content, Teachers, Lawyers and GDUI (who will wait to distribute their convention content via the GDUI Juno Report.
They have about 24 hours of additional content to put up.
ACB Radio received notice from Apple that all of our podcasts have been moved into their developer account. This means that Jeff can probably send out listener statistics for each podcast.
They are working hard on improving the server; they are developing a long-term IT Strategy for the ACB web site, ACB Radio web site, and the mini mall. They are also looking at some potential changes to schedules – an ongoing pursuit. Jeff says he is very receptive to feedback from listeners.
Jeff has not heard back from RNIB or CNIB.
Paul said he had sent e-mail to his RNIB contact but had not gotten a response either.
Jeff said he got lots of positive feedback on the ACB Radio report he sent out earlier this week. He said that listeners are eager to hear GDUI’s convention content (via the GDUI Juno Report).
Debbie Hazelton said she has done promos for the Mainstream schedules for each day of the week, and for each show on Mainstream, she provided time schedules for broadcast and rebroadcast throughout the week.
Jeff says they are working on a version of ACB Link for iOS13. This will require a lot of work and creativity. (If you run the ACB Link app on iOS13, you can’t currently play anything). They are also working on some changes on the push notification side, as well as some changes in colors displayed.
iOS 13 is expected to come out on the Wednesday prior to the release of the new iPhones (September 20). If ACB Link is not going to work, Jeff will alert listeners by e-mail.
Jeff and Deb will investigate the issue of which affiliate conventions ACB Radio can stream and let all affiliates know what is going on.
ACB Email Lists
Bob distributed the E-Mail Lists Report to the BOP E-mail discussion list. His report follows:
Deb said she will work with Bob to edit the Editorial Policy Manual appendices related to ACB Radio.
She also said she corrected list subscription instructions and sent the updated instructions to Jeff for posting online and at the end of list messages.
It’s too early for Kelly to have collected social media statistics, but she will be sending them to us when they’re available.
Katie says she and Kelly have been working to update (and correct) the Wikipedia page, and she expects it to be updated by the end of next week. We will be able to wrap up the whole issue by next month’s meeting.
Katie is helping ACB Radio with their public relations, as well.
There was no other business.
Susan moved and Paul seconded the motion to adjourn, and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:53 p.m. Eastern.
The next BOP meeting will take place on October 1, 2019.