Skip navigation


Ask a question about anything!

Meeting Minutes: January 20, 2005

InfoEyes Meeting


Kim Charlson, Barbara Mates, Bob McBrien, Caroline Geer, Crystal Lenz, Diana Sussman, Lori Bell, Heather Muller, Joe Thompson, John Mugford, Linda Gmiter, Linda Rossman, Meghan, Philadelphia, Sharon Ruda

Discussion of Scheduling

Right now there are only 18 hours of coverage. Busiest days in other services are Monday - Thursday afternoon and evening. Diana looked at stats from various VR services to determine this. With the different time zones, scheduling to cover convenient hours for everyone is a challenge.

Statistics & Usage Report (John Mugford, NM)

Statistics are not high. Most email questions were posed in the morning. Joe Thompson asked what kind of marketing had been done. Diana said each talking book center has a newsletter and everyone has been encouraged to advertise in the newsletter. Publicity has also been done in Radio Information Services. There have been national articles and announcement on lists with blind people. John Mugford wondered if Regional Libraries are keeping statistics of use of web opacs. This might help determine how many people might use InfoEyes. Diana asked that people submit this information to the InfoEyes list. John Mugford will keep a tally of this information.

Web Page Design (Heather Muller, WA)

Diana showed the proposed new web page to everyone. There was discussion about moving the statistics from the main page so that the focus is on information for users. It was suggested that the statistics be moved to their own page or to the page were meeting minutes are. There was also a discussion about setting appointments and where email requests should be sent. A decision was made to send appointment emails to the list serv. Language about a 48-hour turn around for email responses will be changed to indicate that questions will be answered during our hours of operation. Any additional comments or suggestions about the new website should be sent to Heather Muller at by the end of the day on Monday 1/24.

Filling Leadership Roles

Current needs: Co-Coordinators/Co-Presidents (to correspond with other coordinators regarding key issues, maintain understanding of issues and progress, answer questions, provide leadership); Secretary (for meeting minutes); Training/Mentoring; Publicity coordinator (to blind listservs and other venues). It is important that voices from states other than Illinois speak up since this is a multi-state project. Official elections will be held at the next meeting. Let Diana know what positions you are interested in or if there are any other positions that you think we need or that you are interested in holding.

Big Picture Discussion

How we see InfoEyes supplementing, merging, or enabling the virtual reference marketplace in response to demands for accessible products.

Diana started the discussion with the statement that we are setting up a system of virtual reference services for the visually impaired that is separate and not quite equal to what is available to everyone else. A possible solution is to merge with existing VR providers and have reference librarians open IE rooms alongside the ones they are monitoring for their own VR services. Different people have discussed accessibility issues with OCLC and other vendors, but it sounds like no one is addressing the issue right now. To alleviate the problem, it was suggested that parent institutions, or even groups like COSLA, ALA, and PLA, approach vendors with concerns and resolutions about accessibility issues. Crystal will try to get information to COSLA, Barbara will get information to ALA groups, and Bob will get information to PLA. Everyone will talk to VR consortia and other libraries in their states to see if any are willing to staff InfoEyes alongside their VR services for a minimum of one hour a week. The libraries won't have to use QuestionPoint or answer emails if they don't want to. The result will be expanded service hours and more equal access for the visually impaired community. Send information about interested libraries to the list serv. We will wait until February to redo the desk schedule so Maryland and other interested libraries can be incorporated into the schedule.

March Meeting

The meeting will be on March 10 instead of March 17. It will be at the usual time. Our next meeting is February 17.

Other Issues

Things to think about for our next meeting...

Leadership roles; a sunset date for InfoEyes; talk to virtual reference consortia in your state about partnering with InfoEyes; Barbara will contact ALA groups; Bob will contact PLA; Crystal will contact COSLA.