Today, 20 April 2016 Queensland Braille Writing Association (QBWA) held its 119th Annual General Meeting (AGM). As usual the QBWA volunteers and staff presented a wonderful morning tea and overall AGM. Chaired by Cr Nicole Johnston proceedings ran smoothly with required matters attended to and inspirational food for thought presented by our guest speaker Dr Marjorie Green.
Here is a snapshot of QBWA in 2015 presented by Ms Sue Wagner, Vice President QBWA.
The highlight of 2015 for QBWA must surely be the successful refurbishment of the libraries – Braille, Moon and Magazines. A huge task presented itself: that of rigorously assessing the collection and culling all the volumes that were damaged, poor quality due to age, or pre-Unified English Braille standard. While that work was being carried out by the Library and Tutoring Volunteers, the rooms in the undercroft were prepared, painted and provided with new flooring, lighting, air conditioning and a reconditioned set of compactus shelving.
The two teams that were librarians in separate libraries are now one cohesive team operating even more effectively for our readers. In 2015, 323 Braille library titles (2040 volumes) were sent out to readers throughout Australia and 92 new Braille titles (366 volumes) were added to the library collection.
The Book Panel met on three occasions in 2015 and welcomed Jenny Cossins from the Rural Libraries section of the State Library to meetings.
The essential structural maintenance work on the roof of Braille House was completed early in the year following the storm in November 2014 which damaged the roof and broke every window along the south side of the buildings. The repairs to the roof included insulation which has resulted in a much more comfortable environment inside the house. Refurbishment of other parts of the buildings is an ongoing process.
Braille House has continued to be host to the Australian Braille Authority’s Braille Club, held once each term for Braille reading students, and to the Tactual Mapping Committee which meets about six times each year.
Our annual Braille Literacy Challenge in September once again drew together enthusiastic students from Prep to Year 12 to challenge themselves in reading and writing Braille. This year the Veronica Maguire Award for Persistence became part of QBWA’s Challenge event. The winners of this award, together with the winners in the HMF Anderson Award for Braille Writing and the Jean Cowley Award for Braille Reading are featured on our new Challenge Honour Board.
Braille output has increased with more volunteers producing texts in MS Word for conversion into Duxbury for embossing, and enthusiasm for producing Braille on the Perkins machines continues undiminished among a select group of our transcribers.
Tutoring: Braille and Moon courses continue with students receiving local tuition where they can get to a QBWA tutorial and remotely for those further afield.
The Binding section has excelled this year expanding its repertoire into a range of tactual cards, at the same time finishing new books for the Braille House Libraries. The cull of the old library brought to light some classics that were in need of repair and this, too, has been included in the Binding Room’s busy schedule.
Linda Triasmono was a presence at Braille House over many years and in many different roles; her untimely death at Christmas took from her friends and family an indomitable force and a good friend, but her legacy lives on in our memories.
2016 will take us in new and exciting directions. The NDIS comes ever closer and we are learning how to migrate into the era of very fast communications taking our strong beliefs and practical strengths in tactual literacy with us.
Braille House (Queensland Braille Writing Association) is a non-profit organization providing Braille and Moon tuition and reading materials to empower people who are blind or who have low vision to live with dignity and independence. Although located in Brisbane, South East Queensland, Braille House provides to people throughout Queensland and Australia wide.
Features of Braille House include:
- Library: a free lending library of braille and moon books and braille magazines.
- Transcribing: producing books and other resources in braille for children and adults, students of all ages, organisations and government departments.
- Tutoring: tutoring of adults who wish to become touch readers of braille or moon script.
Find Braille House at 507 Ipswich Rd, Annerley QLD 4103 or online at http://braillehouse.org.au/ . Contact us on (07) 3848 5257.