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Press Release
May 2013
For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Frances Mary D'Andrea, Chair
Braille Authority of North America
Phone: 412-521-5797


Recent Actions: BANA Accepts Two New Member Organizations and Approves Addition to Nemeth Code

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) held its 2013 spring meeting April 11 – 13 in Washington, D.C. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a BANA member organization, hosted the meeting at the Library of Congress.

During its three-day meeting, the BANA Board reviewed and acted on semiannual reports from its eighteen committees, considered committee recommendations, and deliberated issues and challenges facing braille users and producers. The UEB Task Force reported on the development of a plan for the transition to UEB in the United States as well as the collaborative steps that have been taken to initiate dialogue and planning among the various braille communities that will be impacted.

Actions taken at the Board Meeting included the following:

The review and approval of a major revision of the organization's entire set of bylaws and policies as recommended after intense study by the BANA Bylaws Committee.

Approval of the applications for two new member organizations: the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB) and the Hadley School for the Blind. BANA welcomes both of these organizations and looks forward to working with them.

Approval of a recommendation from BANA's Braille Mathematics Technical Committee that the following be added to the Nemeth Code:

"Rule XIV, §86c. When the expression being modified is a single digit or a letter, lower-case or capitalized, from any alphabet, and in any type form, and when the modifier is the horizontal bar directly under such a single digit or letter, the digit or letter, followed by the directly under symbol and the bar, serves to express the modification. This construction should be regarded as a contracted form of expression and must be used whenever applicable. If the modification includes a superscript, subscript, or prime, the five-step rule of a above must be followed. The five-step rule may be used in conjunction with the contracted form without fear of confusion."

On Saturday morning, BANA hosted an Open Forum at the Arlington Public Library, Arlington, VA. The forum was quite well attended by DC area braille readers, students, and teachers. Participants also traveled from West Virginia and Maryland to attend. BANA Board members and forum participants engaged in a dynamic dialogue that centered on the characteristics of UEB and the coming transition. The tone of the forum was extremely upbeat with numerous questions and comments about the importance and future of braille; the well-spoken students added their individual and open-minded perspectives.

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The Board of BANA consists of appointed representatives from fifteen 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.