Northern Conference Resolutions: Newport, Rhode Island 2012

Resolution: Whereas electronic speech technology has developed into more high quality recognition; and,

Whereas decreased funding has made striving for more and more efficiencies imperative for network libraries; and,

Whereas sending an electronic source file would enable network library staff to provide significant efficiencies; and,

Whereas conversion of electronic text, including books from Project Gutenberg or the Internet Archive, would better serve readers; and,

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference urges NLS to embark immediately on researching, identifying and making available a process for network libraries to use that would allow staff to send an electronic source file for conversion from an electronic file format to a high-end synthetic text-to-speech audio file format. This file can then be placed onto a cartridge for patron use with the NLS player to enhance awareness and usability of the digital player.

NLS Response: NLS will investigate making such a service available as a part of its overall strategy to incorporate synthetic speech into the program.

Resolution: Whereas duplication-on-demand is an operational and public service imperative; and,

Whereas consistency in network library service is desirable; and,

Whereas the network has a history of sharing information; and,

Whereas NLS best supports the network libraries by keeping the network library manual up-to-date; and,

Whereas, the ALA Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped suggest stringent service-oriented requirements which are becoming more and more difficult for network libraries to meet with decreasing resources; and,

Whereas, the provision of duplication-on-demand service significantly strains already shrinking funding of the network library budgets;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference recommends that NLS:

  • take the leadership role in drafting a general policy for duplication-on-demand which the network can adopt and/or adapt, and,
  • to provide a channel for the network libraries to acquire necessary equipment and supplies at a reduced cost.

NLS Response: NLS will look at development of a model duplication-on-demand policy, but it is understood that network libraries will implement it as local staffing and resources are available. NLS currently ensures that cartridges and containers are available for purchase by network libraries at prices in parallel to those paid by NLS. The price of cartridges is pegged to market costs for flash memory (see NB 08-40 and OA 08-52). The NLS contract for cartridges ensures that network libraries can purchase from Northstar Systems, Inc., at the same cost as NLS.

Resolution: Whereas technology continues to develop more and more rapidly; and,

Whereas all entities need to be up to date in knowledge and reference services when concerned with social networks, surveys, all internal and external communication between NLS and the Network libraries; and,

Whereas communication should flow smoothly and swiftly with the greatest amount of efficiency;

Be is so resolved that NLS should take a more proactive role in using up-to-date technology and applications conducive to swift dissemination of information with longer lead time for responses, and for network libraries to use throughout the network, and will easily adapt to assistive technology needs.

NLS Response: NLS shares and continues to work toward these goals.

Resolution: Whereas both NLS and network libraries join in promoting the use of all NLS services in the format and content that the patrons request and desire; and,

Whereas technology infrastructures are catching up with the high-speed broadband requirements of digital downloading; and,

Whereas BARD downloads will continue to develop as a major source of accessible information for the target population, eventually eclipsing the current standard delivery model;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference urges NLS to include BARD titles in all publications that announce new titles and in all publications that feature themes, and in all formats of these publications.

NLS Response: NLS appreciates the value of publishing all BARD titles in NLS publications. However, because BARD is a dynamic and constantly evolving system with new content added daily, and because this will only increase as network libraries begin posting locally produced materials to BARD, and because BARD currently offers a reasonable search function which NLS intends to dramatically improve in BARD’s next iteration, and because all network libraries have access to BARD, NLS is concerned that printing all titles available on BARD would not be the best use of NLS resources. It is NLS policy that all new books are placed on BARD and are announced in Talking Book Topics. Every book on BARD is in the NLS Catalog. NLS suggests that network libraries explore expanding the use of the NLS catalog as the authoritative source for books from NLS, in part because of its coverage and completeness of annotations.

Resolution: Whereas it is in the best interest of NLS, the Network Libraries, and the public to facilitate access to downloadable BARD titles;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference urges NLS to develop a single, efficient method for signing up for BARD at the same time an applicant applies for other services, using either print or online application.

NLS Response: This is not feasible at the moment. While every individual who applies and is accepted for talking-book service is eligible for BARD, not every patron has the capability of using it. With the merger of CMLS and BPHICS and the more frequent update of data and the reexamination of the application process, it will be an opportunity to explore ways to increase efficiencies.

Resolution: Whereas the number of readers with reading disabilities who receive NLS services has dropped dramatically over the last decade; and,

Whereas this group continues to need and find useful NLS services; and,

Whereas the Northern Regional Conference libraries find that the NLS policy of requiring a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathy to certify the eligibility of an applicant with a reading disability is more costly and incurs far greater effort than other groups eligible for NLS services, thus creating a hardship for the potential patron;

Whereas rejecting as an acceptable authority a neuropsychologist who provides extensive supporting documentation results in reduced latitude as afforded certification of applicants with other eligible disabilities;

Whereas such reduced latitude constitutes a discriminating environment as more latitude is afforded for certification of applicants with other eligible disabilities;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference recommends that NLS begin a process to re-evaluate these requirements and bring them in line with all groups eligible for NLS services. (Network Division)

NLS Response: This examination has begun.

Resolution: Whereas common use of electronic and fax services is accepted in business and nonprofits alike; and,

Whereas requiring certifying authority original signatures can discourage and deter an applicant, caregiver, or family from completing the application process; and,

Whereas NLS and network libraries desire to reach readers with all qualifying disabilities; and,

Whereas when the qualifying disability and certifying authority were defined in law with no knowledge of future technological possibilities; and,

Whereas, throughout the history of NLS services, changes have been instituted to reflect progress and to become more inclusive and efficient for all parties concerned;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference recommends NLS review these requirements to remove barriers and to make applying for services as practical and effortless as possible.

NLS Response: This examination has begun.

Resolution: Whereas NLS and network libraries desire to reach the vast number of unserved, eligible population who are as yet unaware or who believe they are not eligible for NLS services; and,

Whereas, centralization of the basis and key elements of an outreach campaign is adaptable, more cost-effective, and less redundant; and,

Whereas digital download and duplication-on-demand have increased cost and workload for the network libraries, precluding previous ability to expand or even keep up-to-date outreach efforts; and,

Whereas the network libraries have talented, experienced and creative staff; and,

Whereas the network libraries have a vested interest in promoting the service efficiently and effectively despite reduced financial support;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference commends NLS for their intention to provide a national outreach campaign and including network library input in outreach content and decision-making.

NLS Response: Thank you.

Resolution: Whereas the Rhode Island site for the 2012 NLS National Conference was well chosen, beautiful and historical; and,

Whereas the conference agenda and programs were pertinent and beneficial; and,

Whereas the Viking Hotel provided efficient, excellent service; and,

Whereas the activities were delightful, including NLS providing the perfect sunset for the schooner cruise; and,

Whereas the food was more varied, plentiful and delicious;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference commends and thanks NLS staff for all their hard work, careful planning and effective implementation of this year’s national conference.

NLS Response: Thank you.

Resolutions: Whereas NLS needs insightful, knowledgeable and steady leadership at this key moment in history; and,

Whereas selection of the NLS Director has profound ramifications on the quality and direction of service for years to come; and,

Whereas a successful NLS Director must listen, reflect and resolve while exercising stability, strength and vision; and;

Whereas the network is straining under reduced budgets and staffs; and,

Whereas unifying and energizing the network are vital;

Be it so resolved that the Northern Conference expresses admiration, confidence, and optimism in the appointment of Karen Keninger as the new Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and offer our support and assistance as she leads the network into the future.

NLS Response: Thank you. I am honored by your support and look forward to working with you in the coming years.

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