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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind
 
 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

September 9, 2005

Call to Order and Invocation

Chairman Tim Jones called the meeting of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind to order at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2005 .  Invocation was offered by Ms. Hazel Staley.  The following members were present:  Tim Jones, Hazel Staley, Jennifer Talbot, and Les Seitz. 

Members Not Present:  Linda Lewis, Brian Lewis, Jim Shuart, Steve Walker, Bill Apple, Ron Eller, and Representative Verla Insko

Others Present:  Debbie Jackson, Francine Martin, Tom Winton, Pat Robbins, William Tubilleja, and Carla Parker

Approval of Minutes

Motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the minutes of March 11, 2005 .

Report of Entities

North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped—Francine Martin

Planning, Facilities, and Staffing

  • All staff had the opportunity to review and provide input on the 2nd draft of the LBPH 5-year plan.   A draft is attached to this report.   The plan includes consumer input and recommendations as well as staff and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped recommendations.
  • The DCR Budget request included for NCLBPH funding for a new telephone system, a security system, rent increases to cover the Braille storage location (annex) and the new LBPH lease agreement for the current building, and utility increases.   The increases are included in the budget as recently passed by the General Assembly.
  • New carpet has been selected.  We are now awaiting word from the landlord on a meeting to discuss the time and logistics for installation.
  • Shaun Mason began work August 15, 2005 as the new Librarian III, LBPH Information Technology Services Librarian. 

End of State Fiscal Year Statistics

The following statistics reflect some key service levels of NCLBPH for State Fiscal Year 2004/2005, which ended June 30, 2005 :  

  • 9,996 individuals actively borrowed books or magazines from NCLBPH
  • 239 institutions were served
  • 482,813 books & magazines were loaned to North Carolinians
  • 18,681 service related phone calls were fielded
  • 1,158 emails from patrons were handled
  • 2,106 new applications for service were received

Machine Unit Database Reconciliation

The Machine Unit staff completed matching our database inventory of machines with the national machine inventory database called BPHICS (Blind and Physically Handicapped Inventory Control System).   Discrepancies were corrected.   BPHICS staff were complimentary on the high level of accuracy of the NC database records.

Braille News

  • Gary Ray is participating in a Braille Literacy Committee being formed by DSB.  LBPH is a central player in any effort to improve Braille literacy because we are the largest supplier of Braille reading material in NC.
  • Braille Coordinator is overseeing 5 students in the NLS transcribing course.  This entails grading lessons and answering questions.
  • Braille Coordinator is consulted by NLS and the NBA (National Braille Association) on a periodic basis because of the number of years she has been involved in Braille.

NCLBPH Long Range Plan 2004-2009

July 1, 2005

Sources: 

NLS Consultant Report recommendations 2004 (Based on ALA/COSLA standards)

2004 NCLBPH Patron Satisfaction Survey (where satisfaction decreased by more than 2%)

(AI) Appreciative Inquiry Process (LBPH staff recommendations 2003)

(FM) Recommendations by Francine Martin, Regional Librarian

Patron recommendations, CMLS annual report, other staff recommendations.

Planning

  • Develop a new long-range plan.  When the long-range plan is complete, send a copy to NLS.  Make the long-range plan available to patrons in appropriate formats.  (NLS Recommendation)
  • When analysis of the patron satisfaction survey is complete, send the results to NLS.  (NLS Recommendation) 
  • Review policies regularly, especially as changes in operation or service are made.  (NLS Recommendation)

Staffing

  • The RL should continue to work with the administering agency toward adding two librarians and maintaining proper staff levels.  (NLS Recommendation)
  • The RL should continue to work with the administering agency toward restoring two Reader Advisor positions to meet staffing standards. (NLS Recommendation)

New Services/Projects

  • Research, purchase, and implement Digital Recording system meeting NLS specs. (FM)
  • Implementation of digital books as NLS makes info & products available. (FM)
  • Ensure NC patrons have timely notification of opportunities to participate in any NLS test projects, etc. (FM)
  • Monitor KLAS ver 7 developments and implement when functionality is acceptable. (FM)
  • Evaluate demand for a Descriptive DVD collection.  Plan & implement when appropriate.

Customer Service Improvement

  • Contact new patrons within a shorter time-frame with a follow-up so we encourage them to use service before they are lost to us. (AI)  Find more ways to reach out to customers. (AI)
  • Improve amounts of books patrons are receiving (satisfaction decrease in 04 Patron Survey)
  • Improve speed with which books get to patrons—what steps can/should we take internally?  (satisfaction decrease in 04 Patron Survey)--related to item above & patron Max?
  • Improve book selection—Nightly TA coding & setup? (satisfaction decrease in 04 Patron Survey)
  • Improve ease of contacting us—what steps can we take internally?  (satisfaction decrease in 04 Patron Survey)
  • Make every effort to ensure automated systems purchased by and used by LBPH staff and patrons are accessible and appropriate.

Facilities

  • Install automatic doors so visitors in wheelchairs have independent access to building.  (Patron demand)
  • Install new carpet (staff & landlord recommendation)
  • Improve privacy of customer information at reception desk. (AI)

Collection

  • Improve availability of popular older titles by increasing in-house production of additional copies of tape books. (AI)
  • Submit a NCLBPH recorded title to the Quality Assurance (QA) program at the Multistate Center East (MSCE) for evaluation. (NLS Recommendation)
  • Continue weeding & shifting to ensure continued room for growth.  (FM)
  • Shelving plan needed to show where each collection will grow for next 5 years. (FM)
  • Study the demographic/age distribution of large print users to better define needs (AI)

Cataloging

  • Author authority cleanup in cataloging records (staff & patron suggestions)
  • Annotation cleanup in cataloging records (JH)
  • Improve subject coding consistency throughout catalog records (staff suggestion)

Magazine Services

  • Find way to get more volunteers to get magazines recorded in a more timely manner.  (AI & NLS Recommendation)

Public Relations

  • Find ways to broaden the customer base. (AI)
  • Improve newsletter (satisfaction decrease in 04 Patron Survey)

Machines

  • Perform a reconciliation between the NCLBPH Machine Lending Agency’s (MLA) machine files and the national machine inventory database (BPHICS) file.  (NLS Recommendation)
  • The MLA should conduct a self-audit.  (NLS Recommendation)

Volunteers

  • Focus on recruiting/training volunteers.  (AI)

(See also magazine and collection recommendations regarding volunteers.)

Improve branch interactions/morale (AI)

  • Improve communication between units (AI)
  • Build sense of community in LBPH.  Work to help everyone see relationships between units & what each unit does. Build willingness to see others point of view. (AI)
  • Find ways to promote better attitudes & help each person feel they are needed & their opinion counts. (AI)  Encourage shared problem solving. (AI)

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction—Tom Winton

55th Conference on Exceptional Children – The 55th Conference on Exceptional Children is scheduled for November 7-9 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro .  Approximately 3,000 teachers, administrators, related service personnel and parents will attend.  Special instructional sessions on literacy for young children with visual impairments and on cortical visual impairment will be held.  Registration information is available at www.ncpublicschools.org/ec/conference/ .

Summer Institutes – The Exceptional Children Division held 25 separate summer institutes during June, July and August.  Many were held during the week of July 25-29 at the Elliott University Center on the campus of UNC Greensboro.  Among these was an institute entitled ‘Teaching Math to Students with Visual Impairments’ presented by Susan Osterhaus of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Thirty-seven VI teachers, math teachers, braillists, professors and parents attended and received quality instruction and nearly $10,000 worth of instructional materials to take back to their schools to improve instruction in mathematics to students with visual impairments.

North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness – Planning is continuing on the 4th annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness.  This professional conference, which brings together agency and education professionals from across the state is scheduled for March 9-11, 2006 .  The Exceptional Children Division looks forward to continue its involvement and sponsorship of this worthy conference.  It will likely contract with NCAER to sponsor a keynote address.

Federal Quota Funds – As of September 9, 251 separate orders had been placed with APH in the Fiscal Year 2004-05 to procure instructional materials with Quota Funds.  This fiscal year ends on September 30.  This is the largest number of APH orders processed in one fiscal year in North Carolina .  School systems around the state are vigorously accessing these funds to procure instructional materials for blind students.

NCCU-VITP Advisory Board – The Consultant for Visually Impaired continues to serve as co-chair with Dr. Deborah Hatton on the NCCU-VITP Advisory Board.  The Board meets bi-monthly and is representative of stakeholder schools, agencies, committees, and consumer groups.  The Board was disappointed to learn of the resignation of the program’s director, Dr. Alana Zambone.  The Board recognizes the historical inability of the university to keep a fully staffed program in place and is expressing its concerns to the appropriate university administration officials. 

Registration of Legally Blind – The Annual Registration of Legally Blind students will begin in early January.  The Consultant for Visually Impaired administers this annual registration.  An official count of the registered students with legal blindness will be available at the next C&A Advisory Committee meeting in March 2005.

APH Educational Products Advisory Committee – The Consultant for Visually Impaired has been serving as a member of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Educational Products Advisory Committee.  This Committee assists APH in continuous improvement to ensure that the educational products APH develops are of high quality and relevance to the needs of students with visual impairments and blindness.  It will give an official report to all the Ex Officio Trustees of APH at the Annual Meeting in Louisville in October.

New Director at GMS – The Exceptional Children Division recognizes and welcomes Dennis Thurman as the new Director of the Governor Morehead School .  The Division and the Consultant for Visually Impaired looks forward to collaborating on issues to benefit students across the state.

NC Division of Services for the Blind—Debbie Jackson

Federal Level—The plan is still underway to close the RSA Regional Offices as of September 30, 2005 .  We do not know how the technical assistance or monitoring will be implemented or how it will affect DSB.  

State Level— Fortunately, DSB did not suffer any major cuts.  NewsLine and Radio Reading was funded for another year. Senate Bill 1058 which offers greater protection for service animals and owners and stiffer penalties to those who violate this law did pass. 

Renovations of Dorms on GMS Campus—Two dorms, Cox and Milsap, will be renovated.  The major renovations will begin on Cox dorm in October or November 2005.  It is anticipated it will take approximately 9 months to complete the major renovations on Cox then work will begin on Milsap.  Students will be moved out of dorms and into a smaller space on campus, Cathey Cottage.  In some situations, students may be housed off-campus.  Fewer students will be able to be served at the Rehabilitation Center since we will not have anywhere to house the students.    

Needs Assessment—Approximately every 5 years, DSB’s Rehabilitation Program participates in a Statewide Needs Assessment which focuses on the Rehabilitation Program.  Mississippi State University was chosen to do our Needs Assessment.  Our goal is to complete the assessment during the first quarter of 2006. 

The agreement between DSB and Durham County School System is finally signed.  The Counselor position will be posted and final arrangements regarding office location is being worked out.   

Labels for Literacy Project—This is a project designed to help the visually impaired and blind identify canned goods.  The labels are in large print and Grade 1 Braille.  We are compiling a mailing list and waiting to receive our first set of labels from the Company. 

The planning for the 4th Annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness is currently underway.  It is being planned for March 9-11, 2006 , and will be held on the campus of the Governor Morehead School campus. 

Prevent Blindness of North Carolina --Jennifer Talbot

All programs with Prevent Blindness are doing very well.  A large appropriation, $225,000, was received to be used for preschool screening.  Due to the recent hurricane, vouchers for glasses and appointments which are normally for children will now also be provided to adults in case there are any evacuees needing glasses or treatment. 

One major concern of Prevent Blindness of NC is a bill that passed in the House which mandates all children receive an eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist before entering preschool.  Two million dollars was appropriated but Prevent Blindness estimates the cost will be much greater.  In the past, pediatricians have performed any screening or exams a child may need.  This bill cuts out the pediatrician and makes exams mandatory before entering school.  Chairman Tim Jones asked Jennifer Talbot to send a fact sheet or other information to Carla Parker so she may send to the committee.

NC Association for Rehabilitation and Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)—William Tubilleja

In Bill Apple’s absence, Mr. William Tubilleja reported on AER. 

  • The next meeting of the NCAER Board is at 3:30 on October 4, 2005 , in Raleigh.
  • William Tubilleja is a recently appointed Board Member.  Other current Board members include:  Gary Ray, Mary Flanagan, Susan Purdy, Tom Winton, Nancy Massengill, Jim Baker, Joy Fleming, and Bill Apple. 
  • NCAER is exploring how NC might assist blind and visually impaired victims of Hurricane Katrina.
  • NCAER is participating in the planning for the upcoming NC Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness to be held March 9-11, 2006.

National Federation of the Blind—Hazel Staley

In May, 13 NFB members participated in the demonstration in Washington opposing the dismantling of the rehabilitation department and closing of the regional offices.  Twenty-two of our members attended the National Convention in Louisville , KY , in July.  A new chapter was organized in Greensboro on August 13.  This is an enthusiastic, young group. 

On August 28, a reader of the Charlotter Observer sent a question to Diane Whitacre, who authors a column called Dr. Traffic, regarding left turn on red.  The reader said he had noticed motorists every afternoon making a left turn from college onto 12 street and asked if this was legal.  Ms. Whitacre responded:  “It is illegal to turn left on red in NC, one of only 7 states where that very logical move is prohibited.  The legislature rejected a left on red bill this year, the fifth time in recent memory.  Visually impaired pedestrians fight the idea.”  Ms. Staley left a message on her voice mail explaining why we oppose this idea and left a phone number to be reached but no phone call was returned.

The Federation has joined the Lions International in a project to reach more blind people in the community for rehabilitation purposes.  As this project develops, plans will filter down to local clubs.  A particular interest of this coalition is Braille Literacy.

NFB’s State Convention is being held this weekend in Raleigh at the Crabtree Holiday Inn.  Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, Director of our Jernigan Institute in Baltimore , will be our national representative.  Among other things, Dr. Zaborowski will be demonstrating the new pocket-sized reading machine.  Plans are to have this much-needed machine in production of 2006. 

The Legislature voted to fund Newsline for another year.

This Spring, Tim Jones will be trained using the The Kurweil Federation Reading Machine in Baltimore , MD.   Plans are to have the machine on the market in 2006. 

NC Council of the Blind—Les Seitz

In Ron Eller’s absence, Les Seitz attended the meeting.  Les Seitz is the President of Raleigh-Wake Council of the Blind which is the local affiliate of the NC Council of the Blind. 

The National Convention was held in Las Vegas .  The largest ACB Convention ever—total registration was approximately 1,600.

The State Office for the NC Council of the Blind has moved from Burlington to Statesville .  The toll-free phone number remains the same—1-800-344-7113. 

State Convention will be held September 23-25 at the LaQuinta in Burlington , NC . 

Last year, different advocacy groups met to foster goodwill.  Again this year, the groups will be having a picnic at Pullen Park on October 1 for members of the Federation and Council.  

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones

The Business Enterprises Program is doing very well.  The average operator income and sales are increasing.

Old Business

None

New Business

None

Adjournment of Meeting

With no further business, a motion was made, seconded, and carried that the meeting adjourn.  The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.   The next meeting is scheduled for December 9, 2005 , at 1 p.m.

 

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