November 18, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jennifer Dunnam, Chair
Braille Authority of North America
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) held its 2015 fall meeting November 5–7 in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Horizons for the Blind, a BANA member organization, hosted the meeting. BANA welcomed two new representatives to the Board—Tracy Gaines who replaced Peggy Schuetz as the representative from the California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI) and Saul Garza, the newly appointed representative of Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, replacing Kyle Key.
During its three-day meeting, the BANA Board reviewed and acted on semiannual reports from its eighteen committees and considered committee recommendations. Several committee members who attended the meeting presented their committee reports in person and dialogued with the Board concerning matters related to their work. Two members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Chemistry, one of whom is the committee chair, delivered their report, and the Chair of the Crafts and Hobbies Committee delivered the report from her committee. The Board also established the 2016 budget and continued planning the numerous BANA projects underway, including the imminent implementation of Unified English Braille (UEB) in the United States.
Notable actions taken by the Board include the following:
The Board unanimously approved a major revision of the music braille code, which had undergone the scrutiny of technical and Board reviews. After finalization of the electronic files, the new version of the music code will be available on the BANA website. The BANA Board commends the members of the music braille technical committee for their tireless and concentrated work on this significant revision of the music code. The members of the committee are all musicians as well as experts in music braille transcription and reading. They brought their prodigious skills and knowledge to the task and made a substantial donation of their personal time and talent over a period of many years toward the completion of this project. Visit the BANA page on Facebook to see a video of the actual vote to approve the revised music code at https://www.facebook.com/Braille-Authority-of-North-America-120201874707328/?fref=ts
As a result of lengthy and in-depth discussions over several days, the BANA Board members representing United States organizations approved the following statement regarding braille math and technical materials as it relates to the adoption of UEB in the United States.
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) recognizes and appreciates the genuine concerns from the braille community regarding the transition to Unified English Braille (UEB). BANA stands by our original motion to adopt UEB as a complete code as well as the implementation statement issued in 2014 in which we expressed that the Nemeth Code remains integral to braille in the United States. The Board of BANA could not reach consensus regarding the establishment of a single standard code for technical materials for braille in the United States. The decision to use UEB or the Nemeth Code within UEB context for technical materials should be made based on braille readers' individual needs.
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The Board of BANA consists of appointed representatives from eighteen member organizations of braille producers, transcribers, teachers, and consumers.
The mission of the Braille Authority of North America is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics.
The purpose of BANA is to promote and to facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America. When appropriate, BANA shall accomplish these activities in international collaboration with countries using English braille. In exercising its function and authority, BANA shall consider the effects of its decisions on other existing braille codes and guidelines, forms and formats; ease of production by various methods; and acceptability to readers.