[bct] Re: Next Steps With NLS

  • From: "Walt Smith" <walt@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 12:22:45 -0400

There has been a user advisory panel for NLS for many years with members 
from both national organizations of the blind and that is the appropriate 
mechanism for making input to the service. Since Mr. Cylke has already 
stated; and his statement has been quoted here; that the service will resume 
shortly, I think that any further activity with regard to this situation is 
totally unnecessary and overblown, as most of the response has been already.

The simple fact is that whether we like it or not, NLS does not owe us any 
explanations for the sudden nature of this occurrence. If they determined, 
as they obviously did based on their own message, that there were security 
issues, they would have been derelict in their duty and responsibility of 
they had _not_ acted immediately. Under the circumstances, they were 
completely within their rights to act as they did without any consultation, 
advice, or consent from anyone. Their brief is to manage the service and if 
there are complaints about how they have done so, mechanisms already exist 
by which to address them without hysterical responses involving petitions, 
letters to congress, etc. Some persons, desiring to pose as advocates for 
"the blind" while at the same time inflating their own egos, have attempted 
to manipulate what is, at bottom a temporary situation into some kind of 
national scandal and that, I submit, is both irresponsible and opportunistic 
in the extreme.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Monica Willyard" <plumlipstick@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindtech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 1:19 AM
Subject: [bct] Next Steps With NLS

>I would like to offer an alternate path for resolution of the
>WebBraille issue.  Please give my idea some thought to see if it
>might help us move forward.

> From my vantage point, I think the crux of the issue is that for
> years, NLS has made many decisions about us but without us.  They
> may not even realize they're doing it.  This time it's so obvious
> that no one can really ignore or overlook it.  There is a subtle
> but growing attitude that this is being done for us as opposed to
> being a needs-driven service.  Perhaps that is the nature of
> governmental agencies in general though.

Someone here said that we don't have the right to question what's
going on because NLS is a service and not a right.  However, I
believe that as a tax payer, I do have the right and indeed the
obligation to insure that the service is meeting the actual needs of
those it claims to serve.  In this case, the needs of thousands of
people appear to be sacrificed without explanation.  I believe that
our questions should be asked both clearly and with courtesy, and
should be put in writing so that there is a paper trail of
information regarding this whole thing.  I think it's important to
treat all NLS personnel with the same respect we accord the rest of
our colleagues.

Meanwhile, we have asked for information and still don't have
answers.  So what next?  I think that educating the public about the
existance of and need for WebBraille is a good next step for us
because it will lay a foundation for future advocacy if needed.  Our
lawmakers and their staff do read web sites and blogs sometimes.  If
the issue of book accessibility begins appearing on various forums
and blogs, there will be more visibility if we end up needing to
contact our Congressmen.  This is like gathering wood for a fire so
that it could be lit if the weather turns cold.

If the service is restored shortly as promised, the general public
will have learned some cool things about blind people and how we
read.  If what Chris Gray says is true, and service is delayed, we
will have a base of strength and numbers to work from.  We win either
way.  Isn't that what we all want?

So I ask each of you to write a blog entry, call a friend and tell
him/her about accessible book services, post on a message board
somewhere, or write a feature article for your local newspaper as a
human interest story.  There are a lot of talented people here who
have the skills to do all 3 of these.  Don't just sit back and let
people like Jonathan Mosen  do it because they're experienced
podcasters/bloggers.  Say it in your own words with what you like
about the service and what books you like to read.  The point is to
tell someone about how we access books.  Tell you child, your aunt
Susan, the cab driver, or your dog for practice.  (grin)  Lay a good
foundation, watch for a week or so, and then contact your lawmakers
if there is still no response from NLS.  We can win this one and make
NLS a winner too.  Then nobody loses, and we get to read again.

Visit my blog at: http://plumlipstick.livejournal.com

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