Braille Monitor                                                                 February 1985

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Monitor Now Available in Braille for Those Who Want It

by Kenneth Jernigan

Several years ago we found it necessary to limit the number of Braille copies of the Monitor produced and circulated each month. This was done in the interest of economy. We are now in a position to revert to our former practice of providing Braille copies of the Monitor to those who want them.

As Federationists know, the Monitor is produced in print, on flexi disk, and in Braille. Some people have a need for the magazine in more than one medium. We do the best that we can to honor requests. However, until recently we have been reluctant to send Braille copies of the Monitor to anyone except the deaf-blind and others who could demonstrate a need. The reason has been a matter of economics. It is as simple and straightforward as that. The average yearly cost of a disk copy of the Monitor is seven or eight dollars. Print is somewhat higher. The Braille edition, however, has been running about $72. As we increase its volume, it would appear (assuming that we stay at approximately the present length) that the cost per Braille copy may drop to around $40 per year. This will still mean that the Braille is several times more expensive than the print or the disk. However, there are definite advantages to having the magazine in Braille for those who can and want to use that medium. Moreover, we want to do all that we can to encourage the use and availability of Braille. This is why we helped establish the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB).

The figures I have given do not include the costs involved in editing and preparing the Monitor, nor do they include studio time for recording or certain other costs. They are simply given as a yardstick for comparison. The production of the Monitor takes a sizable chunck of our resources, but it is one of the best expenditures we make. Most people (friend and foe alike) recognize the fact that the Monitor is the most influential force in the affairs of the blind today. It informs, encourages, synthesizes, and calls to action.

Everyone who wants it should have it, but we still must be mindful of cost. We should use our resources wisely. For the present, at least, we are asking those who want the Monitor in Braille to request it through the president of the state affiliate in the state where they live. Presumably most Monitor readers know the name of their state president. However, some may not; and, of course, certain non-members may not. Anyone who wishes to receive the Monitor in Braille and who does not know the name of his or her state president should contact the National Office for the name and address. The purpose is to establish contact and provide a channel of communication.

We look forward to the next decade with hope and optimism. We believe that the years ahead are bright with promise, but we also believe that the promise will not be realized unless we continue to work and hope and dream. For the first time in history our destiny is in our own hands, and our future will be what we make it. The Monitor is (and will continue to be) an indispensable element in our march to freedom. Let us see that it is widely distributed, read with care, and thoroughly discussed and understood. The words which appear in the beginning of the Monitor each month are not simply a slogan. They are a reminder and a reaffirmation: "The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves."