[Ohio-talk] Fw: position paper -- some background and explanation

Deborah Kendrick dkkendrick at earthlink.net
Sat May 23 18:16:21 UTC 2009

JW and everyone else,
I am remiss in not having distributed this paper myself, since I am one of 
its authors.
We need your help, and I will do my best to explain as concisely as 
As the paper indicates, the first news we had of the merging of the two Ohio 
libraries for the blind was last August, when Kim Fender, director of the 
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton COunty, (within whose walls our 
library for the blind is housed), came to our chapter meeting.
There's no sight like hindsight, and mine tells me that we were very foolish 
to be so easily misled.  Be that as it may, we bought, complacently, the 
story that the two libraries would merge and there was othing we could do 
about it.
Many milestones have occurred between that date and now, but my own wake-up 
call came around April 12, when two very favorite people of mine, John and 
Georgia Narborough, called to ask what I knew of this merger.  The bottom 
line is that, although they are connected with no consumer organization, 
these two are among the finest people I know -- both in their eighties and 
more active than a half dozen forty-year-olds combined!  Georgie is a 
long-time patron and had just learned of the library closing.
The light bulb above my head said, "If *they* didn't know, who did?"  Upon 
reflection, I realized that there were only a handful of us who knew at all, 
and that the news was perhaps deliberately being kept quiet until the deal 
was done.
Enter John Mitchell, executive director of the Cincinnati Association for 
the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Although his earliest job in this field 
was as director of the NLS Multistate center, here in Cincinnati, and even 
though his agency is the officialy machine-lending arm for southwest Ohio, 
he had been kept completely in the dark.
John called a meeting with Kim Fender, inviting Robin Usalis, head of 
Clovernook.  From that meeting, he concluded that we had, um, been 
hoodwinked, and he called me, Paul Dressell, and Joyce and Rob Rogers (she's 
president of the local ACB chapter, and he's some officer, too).  John and 
Georgia Narborough, of course, were also in this call-to-action group.
We have met three times in the past ten days -- the final of these being 
Friday morning with state Senator Eric Kearny.  Our reason for meeting with 
him was to get the lay of the land.
He grasped the picture quickly -- although he spent an amazingly long time 
with us, well over an hour.  He asked lots of questions, and gave the 
following advice.
The last phase of bbudget development, the senate finance committee, is 
under way, and nearly complete.  Then, as most of you know, the budget is 
considered by a conference committee (of 3 reps each from the house and 
senate).  It will all be decided no later than June 30.
Senator Kearny's advice to us was that we act as aggressively and quickly as 
possible, calling senators in affected counties and particularly those on 
the finance committee.  He believes that, because we are not asking for new 
money, but rather only for the originally allocated money to be returned to 
our library, that we have a fairly good chance if we're quick enough.
Shortly, I will send to this list contact info for targeted senators as well 
as some talking points for phone calls.
PLEASE, please help us in this eleventh-hour effort.
FYI, Donna Foust, (formerly librarian of Cincinnati's Library for the Blind 
and recently retired) has joined our group and is with us.
Also, Barbara Mates (director of the Cleveland Library for the Blind) and 
Kurt Cylke _director of the NLS program in Washington) are aware of our 
effort and completely in favor of its success.
This has been written quickly and spontaneously, so please forgive typing 
and syntax errors!
Please feel free to email or call me with any questions.
And please spread the word to get calls made.

Deborah Kendrick
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dr. Smith" <jwsmithnfb at verizon.net>
To: "NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List" <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 4:47 PM
Subject: [Ohio-talk] Fw: position paper re closing cincy librar for 



Dr. J. Webster Smith
President National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
P.O.BOX 458 Athens, Ohio, 45701-0458
Phone Number - 740-592-6326
"Changing What it Means to be Blind"
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sammons, Elizabeth" <Elizabeth.Sammons at rsc.state.oh.us>
To: <jwsmithnfb at verizon.net>; <eduffy at pobox.com>
Cc: "'Evette Simmons-Reed'" <esimmons-reed at ossb.oh.gov>; "'Cynthia Johnson'"
<cjohnson at ossb.oh.gov>; "'Elizabeth Sammons'" <antigone at columbus.rr.com>;
"'Deborah Kendrick'" <dkkendrick at earthlink.net>; <tango_lady at sbcglobal.net>;
"'Vicky Prahin'" <Prahin at hadley.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 3:30 PM
Subject: FW: position paper re closing cincy librar for the blindy


This afternoon I received this attachment detailing Ohio-wide concerns on
the likely closure of the Cincinnati library for the blind merging services
with Cleveland. Should you wish to take any steps regarding this, I suggest
dialogue on your part with any Ohio senator including your own, since all
Ohio patrons will find service affected, and the budget bill is still in the
Senate for about another week undergoing changes before joint discussion
with the House on finalizing it before June 30, when the governor is hoped
to sign it.

I am only passing this information on and not able to answer further
questions, but I believed that it would be of interest and concern to you,
which is why I am sharing.

Best regards,


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