Braille Monitor                                                                           November 1986


Message to the Members

by Kenneth Jernigan

As Federationists know, we are in the process of remodeling the facilities at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. Of course, this is not new. We have been at it ever since we purchased the Center in the middle of 1978.

However, something which is about to happen is quite new and of immediate importance to Federationists throughout the country. We have now completed renovation of the space on the ground floor level of the Johnson Street wing. This means that we can move our aids, appliances, materials, and literature from the fourth floor (where they are now housed) to the ground floor level. This will save the labor and inconvenience of taking new shipments to the fourth floor, processing them there, and then bringing them back down to the loading dock to be sent out in response to orders. But the task of taking everything off the shelves, getting it from the fourth floor to the new space in the Johnson Street wing, getting it processed and inventoried, and putting it back on the shelves is going to be overwhelming. When we moved our operations from Des Moines to Baltimore, nine semis were required for the job. What we had then was nothing compared to what we have now. We have at least ten times as much--maybe more. It will take all of the man- and woman-power and all of the skill and energy we can muster. In this connection Ray McGeorge will be in the National Office for a ten-day period early in October (this is being written in late September) to help with the work.

So what is all of this leading to? Just this: When we are in the process of moving, we cannot fill orders. Therefore, we want to give everybody as much notice as we can so that as little inconvenience as possible will be caused. We will not process any orders for aids, appliances, literature, or materials between December 15, 1986, and February 1, 1987. Moreover, during that time we will have very little opportunity to deal with long telephone calls of explanation about the matter. We want the moving to take as little time as possible, so between December 15 and February 1 we will be spending all of our effort getting through with it. We know that Christmas is coming. We know that it is an inconvenience for the service to be interrupted. We know that there will be items which people will forget to order and need to have during the iterim. Nevertheless, the decision has been made. It is a necessity, and there can be no exceptions or bending of the rule. Otherwise, the period of moving and interrupted service will be prolonged, causing expense to the Federation and inconvenience to the membership.

Please pay heed to this announcement--and help us spread the word so that all who need to know will be informed. If we receive an order (not if it is postmarked but if we actually receive it) before December 15, 1986, we will try to process it. If we receive it after December 15 (yes, I mean even if we receive it at eight o'clock on the morning of December 16, 1986), we will hold it until after February 1, 1987. All orders which reach us between December 15 and February 1 will be dealt with after February 1, which means that there will be a log jam to process. In other words the fact that we have an order in hand does not mean that we can send it out on February 1. It means that we will work as hard as we can and send it as soon as we are able. Incidentally, we are considering finding someone whose popularity we wish to enhance and appointing him or her to handle all inquiries and complaints about this matter. This person would, of course, be responsible for all delays, mix-ups, and other problems. If you should wish to apply for the job, let us know--but not between December 15,1986, and February 1,1987.