Braille Monitor                                     May 2017

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News from the Federation Family

Braille Book Fair Volunteering:
The Braille Book Fair has become one of the highlights of the convention for many teachers, parents, blind kids, blind parents, and adult beginning Braille readers. But the event could not take place without the help of many dedicated, talented volunteers. And that's where you come in. As a past worker, or simply interested supporter of the Braille Book Fair, I hope you can either volunteer, or give me the contact information for someone that you recommend.

We need people from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12. You do not need to work the entire afternoon or evening, but I do ask that you try to work an entire shift, and we prefer a two-hour shift. We especially need for people who help customers to come before we open the doors at 5:00 p.m. and to commit to staying until at least 6:30 p.m. Book lovers are great for this shift, as you will assist visitors in book decisions/selections.

Thanks so much for taking time to consider this request, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

If you can help, please contact Sandra Oliver, NOPBC Board Member at (713) 825-4573 or If emailing, please provide the following information:

Note: If you are a parent of a blind child under the age eighteen (or still in high school or below), we know that you will want to attend the NOPBC Annual Meeting which takes place just before the BBF, but we would welcome you to work either during the event or on the clean-up shift after the event.

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, the Chicago Chapter held its annual election for all officers and board members. We elected the following: president, Steve Hastalis; first vice president, Patti Chang; second vice president, Jemal Powell; secretary, David Meyer; treasurer, Marco Gianotti; and board members Denise Avant, Gina Falvo, Howard Wilson, and Melissa Fuller.

Kernel Books Available to All:
In 1991 the National Federation of the Blind began publishing a series of small volumes called Kernel Books. The books contained stories written by blind people about our lives, designed to show that they are not much different from the lives of our sighted friends, family members, and peers. We called them Kernel Books because each story contained a "kernel," such as an incident or a challenge that revealed a truth about blindness and blind people. We encouraged the sharing of these volumes with the public to increase understanding and combat low expectations and misconceptions about blindness.

The Kernel Books are a valuable part of our organizational literature and heritage. As an organization, we deeply value and treasure the real-life stories of hope and inspiration contained in our Kernel Book series. But the way that the public acquires information has changed, with more and more people reading and consuming information in a digital form. While the stories in the Kernel Books are timeless, the paperback volumes that contain them are not. Consequently, we are planning to repurpose these stories to make them more widely available in digital formats. At the same time, we would like to get many of the existing paperback Kernel Books in our storage facility out into the world and into the hands of those who would benefit from reading them. To that end, we are offering free cases (a case contains fifty books) on a first-come, first-served basis of the following Kernel Books published after 2000:

We are making these cases of books available so that chapters, affiliates, and divisions can distribute them within their local communities or to new members and supporters. You might donate some books to your local library, distribute copies to senior centers, take some books to church or to meetings of community organizations with which you are involved, give the books out as free literature at community festivals and events, and more. If you are interested in receiving a free case of any of these titles, please contact Ellen Ringlein in the Independence Market at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216, or at

We hope that many individuals, chapters, and affiliates will take advantage of this opportunity to spread our message of hope, love, and determination far and wide. The Kernel Books show how blind people live the lives we want and invite others to understand and support our work for the full and equal integration of the blind into society. Let's make sure that all of the copies of these books we can get into circulation are distributed before we transition these stories to new platforms and formats oriented towards reaching a new generation of readers.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

NYSSB Alumni Association to hold Annual Reunion:
The members of the Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind will gather for their annual reunion from Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at the Quality Inn and Suites, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, New York. Activities will include:

Annual membership dues are $15.00 with multi-year plans available. Our association began in 1918 and was incorporated in 1924. We will be celebrating our centennial and the 150th birthday of the school at our 2018 reunion.

Membership is open to anyone at least eighteen years of age who either attended the New York State School for the Blind or has a substantive relationship to or is recommended by a member in good standing of the Association. If you wish to become a member or have questions about the reunion, please call Diane Scalzi at (586) 337-5226 or email or send using postal mail to 21621 Briarcliff St., Saint Clair Shores, MI 48082.


NFB Pledge
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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