Page images
PDF
EPUB

is so limited and is such a serious factor in reading as to influence not only book selection but the way the books are recorded.

In order to know these factors, we need to make a comprehensive study of the total readership. We estimate $10,000 will do that.

INCREASE FOR REPAIRS TO MACHINES Mr. ANDREWS. The next item is repairs to machines, for which you are requesting an increase of $45,000. What will be the total amount spent for repairs to machines ? Mr. BRAY. The total amount will be $155,000. Mr. ANDREWS. That is including the $45,000? Mr. BRAY. That is correct, sir. Mr. ANDREWS. Why do you need $45,000 increase?

Mr. BRAY. We need the increase because many machines are now over 5 years old. In fact, we have some machines on hand that are 10 or 11 years old and need substantial repair or retirement. The requested increase will go almost solely for the provision of parts used by the Telephone Pioneers of America in repairing and maintaining the machines.

Mr. ANDREWS. Tell us briefly how a machine is repaired. Here is a man living in a small town. He has one of your machines. It breaks down. What happens ?

Mr. BRAY. He has been told beforehand what to do in case the machine does break down. Although the practice in detail may vary from State to State—in other words, in one State he may be instructed to send his machine back to the lending agency or the regional library.

Mr. ANDREWS. The regional library?

Mr. BRAY. In another State he may be told to notify the Telephone Pioneer locally that his machine needs repair and the Pioneer will even come to his home and repair it for him. Mr. ANDREWS. And bill you for the charges? Mr. BRAY. And bill us for the parts. Dr. MUMFORD. Not for the labor, Mr. Chairman. This is contributed.

TELEPHONE PIONEERS OF AMERICA Mr. BRAY. The labor is free, Mr. Chairman. We have not had to pay for this in the last 5 or 6 years, Mr. Chairman. I have prepared a brief statement describing the Telephone Pioneers of America, which you may wish to see or insert in the record.

Mr. ANDREWS. Insert it in the record, and briefly tell us what it is now.

(The statement follows:)

The Telephone Pioneers of America is the world's largest voluntary association of industrial employees. It is composed of men and women who have served 21 or more years in the telephone industry throughout the United States and Canada. This organization, numbering over a quarter of a million members, adopted community service as a major objective in 1958. Aid to visually handicapped persons, including braille transcription and recording on discs and tape, is one of their many community service projects.

Talking book machines require maintenance and repairs occasionally and the difficulty of providing this service has been an obstacle in the efficient use of the program. Until recent years the lending agencies shipped the machines to a central point for all servicing and repairs. The time required for shipping and

handling, the damage resulting from the shipping, and the cost of the servicing constituted a major problem. This resulted in the blind user being unable to use his machine for an extended period each time it needed repairs.

It was found that about 70 percent of the repairs were of a minor nature and consisted of small adjustments, screws loose, defective tubes, blown fuses, and so forth. In July 1958, in an attempt to improve the service, the Division for the Blind in the Library of Congress instituted procedures whereby the various agencies that loaned the machines handled the minor and elementary service themselves. Major repairs were continued at a central geographic location on a contractual basis. The personnel in the lending agencies are generally staff workers, librarians, or caseworkers who are trained in their respective fiields. These people have a non-technical background and although a maintenance guidebook was prepared for their assistance, the new system was far from adequate.

As a result, in 1960 the Division for the Blind requested the Telephone Pioneers of America to undertake, as a community service project on a national basis in the United States, servicing the machines in the various local areas where they are used. The Community Service Committee of the Association reviewed the request and decided that it fell within the scope of the Pioneer community service purpose.

Initial pilot studies proved that this activity was a natural for telephone technicians, who were glad to share with their communities the knowledge and skills they had learned on the job. The Pioneers have set up 154 workshops and are now repairing machines in all the 48 states of the continental U.S. and the District of Columbia. They have repaired or completely overhauled an average of 13,000 machines in each of the last five years. As of June 30, 1966, there were 2,300 Pioneer volunteers active in the program.

In addition to the repair work, during 1966 the Pioneers began replacing the present two-speed motors used in talking book machines with three-speed motors. The new 8-1/3 r.p.m. speed being added will afford considerable savings in the production of records, as well as provide added convenience to the listener. The present records of 16-2/3 and 33-1/3 speeds will play about an hour and a half and an hour respectively. With the addition of an 8-1/3 speed phase, two hours of recording per side is possible. This will considerably increase the amount of information carried on each record. The Pioneers have converted 8,000 machines to three-speed operation as of the end of 1966 and are well organized to continue this replacement program to its completion.

In September 1966, at their General Assembly Meeting, the Pioneers were informed of the provisions of Public Law 89–522, making talking books available "to other physically handicapped readers certified by competent authority as unable to read normal printed material as a result of physical limitations." The Library of Congress requested that the Pioneers consider a corresponding enlargement of their participation in the talking book machine program. The Pioneers agreed to do this.

The volunteer activities of the Telephone Pioneers have resulted in faster and more efficient repairs and conversions at less cost to the Government. The Division for the Blind pays the costs of parts and the labor is free

Mr. BRAY. The Telephone Pioneers of America is the world's largest voluntary association of industrial employees. There are between 250,000 and 300,000 of them in the United States. They are active in every State, except Alaska, where there are extremely few readers and where the distances are long, repairing on volunteer time the talking book machines. The requirement for membership is at least 21 years with the telephone company. So, you have two kinds of chapterschapters made up of people who are still active in the industry, and other chapters which consist of retired persons.

For many years the Pioneers, on a sort of local basis, have done brailling, volunteer recording on tape, some typing of material in large print, but uniformly across the country for the last 6 years they have maintained at no labor cost the talking book machines.

Mr. ANDREWS. That is a very fine organization.

INCREASE FOR PUBLICATION CONTRACTS The next item is publication contracts, for which you are requesting an increase of $83,000. What will be the total amount spent for this project?

Mr. BRAY. This is another component of the $187,000 total increase. The total is now $115,000. The additional sum of $83,000 is to pay for the additional copies.

Mr. ANDREWS. That will give you a total of this project of $198,000? Mr. BRAY. That is correct, sir. These are contracts with nonprofit organizations working in the field for the blind and the handicapped to obtain publications in larger than average print and in braille to meet the added readership.

Mr. ANDREWS. Is this the project you told us about where you have the readers read the book and put the reading on the record ?

Mr. BRAY. No, sir. This is that magazine I told you about that goes directly to blind and handicapped persons.

Mr. ANDREWS. Who prints this for you? Mr. Bray. It is printed under subcontract by the American Foundation for the Blind in New York City.

Dr. MUMFORD. Have you a copy of the Braille Book Review with

you?

Mr. BRAY. Yes, I have.
Mr. ANDREWS. Do they do braille work for you?

Mr. BRAY. They do the print copies of the Braille Book Review, but the major portion of the publication, of course, appears in braille, and that is done by the Clovernook Press in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Then we have other publications, for example a summary of press braille, which also appears in braille. Many people, particularly working with the blind, teachers and whatever, need print copies. Then we have yearly summaries and indexes which are printed differently for summary purposes.

Mr. ANDREWS. Do you need this program, publication contracts, to keep the blind and physically handicapped informed as to what is available?

Mr. Bray. That is right. It is a direct function of new readership.

INCREASE FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TESTING, AND EVALUATION

PROGRAM

Mr. ANDREWS. You have a research, development, testing, and evaluation program, for which you are requesting an increase of $25,000.

Mr. BRAY. That is correct. Mr. ANDREWS. What will the total amount spent for this project be? Mr. BRAY. $75,000. Mr. ANDREWS. Including the $25,000 ? Mr. BRAY. Including the $25,000, sir. There are five projects which we feel can be realized in this manner.

Mr. ANDREWS. What are you researching, developing, testing, and evaluating?

Mr. BRAY. We are attempting to transistorize the present talking book machine, to reduce it in size and weight, and to give it certain performance improvements, such as obtaining sound immediately when you turn it on, instead of waiting for the tube to warm up.

Mr. ANDREWS. To update it?
Mr. Bray. To update it, in other words; that is correct.
Mr. ANDREWS. Will that cause the price of the machine to increase?

Mr. BRAY. We cannot get a firm answer out of the contracting industry on this.

Mr. ANDREWS. Do these contracting industries show you any consideration for these machines in view of the fact that you are distributing them to the blind and physically handicapped people of this Nation?

Mr. Bray. I would say they do, Mr. Chairman. They still, of course, are making some profit, as does any bidder to the Government, presumably. It is my impression from our negotiations with them, when questions come up about specifications and other liaison matters, that they are considerate and reasonable and even offer some suggestions from time to time.

Mr. ANDREWS. How many companies do you do business with for the machines ?

Mr. BRAY. We advertise for bids fairly extensively. On the last production we received four or five responses.

Mr. ANDREWS. Were those five companies in line on the prices?

Mr. BRAY. Not all of them, sir. Some companies bid surprisingly high, for a unit cost of $40 to $50, where the low bidders came in at approximately $35.

Mr. ANDREWS. How many companies are actually producing machines for you? Mr. BRAY. Only one, sir. Mr. ANDREWS. You give it to the lowest competent bidder? Mr. BRAY. The lowest bidder gets the whole bid; yes, sir.

Mr. ANDREWS. I wish you would put in the record what your contracts for these machines have been for the last 5 years. Mr. BRAY. Very well, sir. (The information follows:)

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1.000

o

1,000

minimo

Philadelphia Association for the Blind, Inc...
U.S. Recording Co...

Philadelphia Association for the Blind, Inc.
D-1

do..----------------------
AD-1 Stromberg-Carlson Co...
AD-2 Warwick Manufacturing Corp.
AD-3 Westinghouse Electric Corp.
BT-S Fanon Electronic Industries, Inc
AD-4 | Westinghouse Electric Corp.
AD-5 Warwick Manufacturing Corp...
AD-6

do..---------
AD-7 Warwick Electronics, Inc.--------

[blocks in formation]

1,385 8, 902 6,500

500 11. 680

[blocks in formation]

1960

11, 250

12,500

1961 1962 1963 1964

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

NOTE.-All single-speed talking book machines (fiscal 1934 through 1956) have been declared obsolete.

INCREASE FOR BRAILLE HANDCOPY

people who, Approximus about #n

Mr. ANDREWS. For braille handcopy you are requesting an increase of $12,000. Tell us first the total amount spent for the braille handcopy.

Mr. BRAY. The total amount for braille handcopy, Mr. Chairman, would be $37,000.

Mr. ANDREWS. Including the $12,000 ?
Mr. BRAY. That is correct.
Mr. ANDREWS. Tell us about that program. What do you do?

Mr. Bray. Approximately one-fourth of our staff consists of blind people who are specialists in braille. Mr. ANDREWS. One-fourth of your staff?

Mr. Bray. That is correct. These braille specialists, or braille instructors, conduct an ongoing correspondence course with sighted volunteers who desire to learn how to transcribe braille in order to transcribe books for our library, for the regional libraries, or for the special individual reading and educational needs of blind people in their communities. We certify annually 700 or 800 of these volunteers. Some of them, of course, fall by the wayside. Most of them, however, continue to transcribe for us.

The increase requested would enable us to add additional books to our collections and to the collections of the local regional libraries, using the free time and talents of these volunteer transcribers, our payment going for the raw materials, the braille paper, for binding the braille book, and proofreading the braille. For proofreading, payment is made to other blind people who proofread as a partial means of support. The braille typewriter with which the transcriber works is not paid from our costs. The volunteer obtains this at his own personal expense.

Mr. ANDREWS. Is it difficult for the average person to learn to read braille?

Mr. BRAY. The average person, if you are talking about the volunteers, does not learn to read it. He learns to transcribe it. Of course, they can read it in a sense, but they do not read it with their fingers. They read it with their eyes. The volunteer learning to transcribe braille will take at least a year, really, to begin to produce effectively.

Mr. ANDREWS. I am speaking of the blind person who wants to learn to read braille with his fingers.

Mr. BRAY. A blind person learning to read braille would learn in anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years. This is the function of an individual's tenacity and ability, and so forth. It would be difficult to set an average time. If they are young people, they are taught in school. Presumably, this is a program thing and the average learning time is from a year to 2 years to teach a young person to read braille of increasing difficulty, just as a sighted person. An adult is often taught at home.

Mr. ANDREWS. By whom?

Mr. BRAY. By home counselors or visitors who come to call only sporadically, and this process could be very long and discouraging.

Mr. ANDREWS. That is the reason your talking book program is so much more popular than the braille, I assume.

Mr. Bray. That is correct, sir. Some people are unable to read braille entirely, or are too aged to begin this learning process.

« PreviousContinue »