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Annual Report 2011: Corporate

October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011

Officers, Trustees, and Committees — Fiscal Year 2011

Dr. Charles Barr, Board Chairman

Corportate Trustees

Meet the APH Board of Trustees.

Corporate Officers

Ex Officio Trustees

Ex Officio Trustees are responsible for the administration of the federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind of 1879. The Ex Officio Trustees are the executive heads of schools for the blind, the chief state school officers of each state department of education, or the executive officers of other agencies serving the blind. If they choose, these executives may designate the Trusteeship to an appropriate professional within their organizations.

Ex Officio Trustee Adivosory Committees October, 2010 – October, 2011

The name of each member is followed by his or her term expiration date.

Educational Services Advisory Committee

Educational Products Advisory Committee

Financial and Production Highlights

Revenue Dollar

Pie chart

Federal Quota 70.0%
NLS and Other Federal Agencies 12.5%
Non-government Contracts 5.8%
Other 11.7%

Types of Products Sold

Pie chart

Educational and Other Aids 52%
Large Type Publications 22%
Braille Publications 16%
Recorded Publications 10%

APH Production Highlights

Braille Pages Produced

Large Type Pages Printed

Audio Minutes Recorded

Executive Report

Tuck Tinsley III, APH President

2011 was APH’s 153rd year as a company. As we begin our 154th year, we have much for which to be thankful—we are financially healthy; we have great support from the U.S. Department of Education; Congress seems to understand our mission and appreciate our frugality; and we continue to produce useful products for blind and visually impaired students and adults.

We believe four keys to our success are:

“Working with others,” “a commitment to continuous improvement,” “archiving our footsteps,” and “focusing on products” are each key to the work and successes highlighted in this report.

Working with Others

We are extremely willing to partner with others to provide the best products possible—doing all we can to avoid any sense of the “Ivory Tower” syndrome. Some examples in 2011 include the following:

Imagination Library

The Imagination Library, funded by Dolly Parton’s not-for-profit Dollywood Foundation, has placed more than 34 million free books in the hands of children age 5 and under. Thanks to the foundation’s collaboration with APH, a selection of those books is being adapted for young children with vision loss.

National Prison Braille Network

The National Prison Braille Network, coordinated by APH staff, continues to grow. The 11th annual National Prison Braille Forum was held in conjunction with the 2011 APH Annual Meeting. Seventy-five people from 23 states attended to discuss issues related to the daily challenges faced by the 36 braille production facilities currently operating in prisons across the U.S.

Regional Braille Challenge

Group Portrait

Winning students from the Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge 2011.

In 2011, APH helped establish a regional competition for students in Kentucky and surrounding states as part of the National Braille Challenge, a program of the Braille Institute of America. APH collaborated with the Kentucky School for the Blind, Kentucky Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind, and other local organizations to sponsor the event.

Teacher Training Programs

APH hosted 34 university staff and students for a two-day on-site meeting focused on the partnership between APH and personnel preparation programs, resulting in additional awareness of current APH products and discussions related to new and needed products.

Product Development

In product development, APH staff continued to work with a variety of companies and individuals including Shinano, Baum, Sendero Group, Perkins Products, LevelStar, National Braille Press, American Foundation for the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, Deane Blazie, Mike Romeo, several publishing companies, and approximately 150 consultants.

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Efforts to find more efficient ways to do all the things we do included the following:


We improved the processes and procedures for hiring during 2011. Twenty-eight positions were filled, including some with internal promotions, which created opportunities for existing employees and opened positions for new employees.


APH realized an incredible safety goal this year for a manufacturing company. We reached one million hours worked with no lost-time accidents or injuries in February; reaching 786 days before our record ended in May.

Performance Evaluation

In an area that’s not a favorite of most supervisors, performance evaluations of employees, we began the process of implementing an accessible, web-based, performance management system.

APH Website

In April, we launched a completely redesigned APH website with new functionality, improved navigation, and a new look. New areas include:

Online Shopping Site

Improvements to the online shopping site are continuous. Two recent additions are a downloadable manuals area on the homepage and an improved “Wish List” that can be used as a request form for items to be purchased. In 2011, 55% of all orders were placed through the website, compared to 49% in 2010.

Louis Plus

Louis Plus, the combined search for the Louis Database and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), was launched in 2011. At year-end, Louis contained 376,854 records describing accessible materials; NIMAC contained 27,871 certified NIMAS files.

Accessible Media Producers Database (AMP)

AMP went live in its new format in July 2011. The new database provides much easier browsing by state, accessible formats, and certifications. The AMP database listed 247 accessible media producers at the end of FY 2011.

Archiving Our Footsteps

Remembering APH’s and the blindness field’s roots is important to our mission. The APH Museum added 54 accessions to our permanent collection in 2011, including a 1910 prototype braille typewriter from the IBM typewriter archives.

The highlight of the year was the acquisition of a baby grand piano from the State of Michigan. This piano was used by Stevie Wonder while he was a student at the Michigan School for the Blind in the 1960s.

The museum’s primary traveling exhibit, “In Touch With Knowledge,” was retired after twenty different installations during nine years on the road. A new exhibit in the works to replace “In Touch” is tentatively titled “Child in a Strange Country: Helen Keller and the History of Education for the Blind.”

APH librarians and museum staff continue to work on improving the cataloging and conservation of materials in the M.C. Migel Library. By year-end, we had fully digitized 499 items, with 328 accessible through APH’s website. The digitized materials are available in a variety of formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.

And We Continue Our Focus on Products

As of September 30, 2011, APH had 920 “make to stock” items.

In 2011, we brought to market 45 distinct products that generated a record number of 128 new catalog items. The most popular included the following:

The 128 new catalog items didn’t include textbooks. We transcribed and provided 112 new braille textbook titles and 565 new large print textbook titles this fiscal year.

Below is additional FY 2011 product-related information:

Annual Sales of $26,597,000 were the second highest in APH’s history, trailing 2010 sales of $29,000,000. A major hurdle was the huge number of orders, more than $7,000,000, in September, the last month of the fiscal year. We also noted a decrease from 2010 in the demand for both braille and large print textbooks.

Data from the FY2011 Federal Quota Census

Data for fiscal 2011 (as-of date: January 4, 2010) regarding the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind indicate the number of legally blind students registered was 58,939, a decrease of 0.7% (402) from the number registered for FY 2010. The 2011 appropriation provided $311.69 per student for educational materials, a 2.7% ($8.49) decrease from the $320.18 per capita allocation in 2010. Of the 58,939 students, 9% (5,329) were registered as braille readers, 27% (16,220) as visual readers, 8% (4,704) as auditory readers, 21% (12,369) as pre-readers, and 34% (20,319) as non-readers. Of this group, 83% (49,132) were registered by state departments of education, 9% (5,159) were registered by residential schools for the blind, 6% (3,273) were registered by rehabilitation programs, and 2% (1,375) were registered by programs for the multiply disabled.


On behalf of APH’s Board of Trustees and administration, we close by expressing sincere appreciation to Ex Officio Trustees for the valuable role they play in the administration of the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind. We also salute the employees of APH for their dedication to their work and to the company’s mission.

Respectfully submitted,
Charles Barr signature
Charles Barr, M.D.
Tuck Tinsley signature
Tuck Tinsley III, Ed.D.

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