Twelve years ago, ABLE was staffed by three employees with four computers; today we have nine employees and twenty-two computers. Six years ago, we made a deliberate shift to focus on the need for quick turn-around brailled learning materials for school-age children. We added staff and volunteers to produce handouts, worksheets, and other daily assignments to ensure that blind children have their educational materials at the same time as their sighted peers. Four years ago, we created the ABLE Sound Center, which allowed us to significantly improve the quality of the audio books we record and make accessible to 550,000 National Library Service patrons across the U.S.
However, along with more production came more noise, which was creating an unpleasant and distracting work environment for our staff and volunteers. Noise mitigation efforts would significantly reduce that noise. We also needed to address efficiency and productivity so that staff and volunteers who needed to collaborate were no longer separated. In 2017 we launched a capital campaign to raise funds to completely redesign our workspace as well as mitigate noise. Mission accomplished! Our redesign not only increased productivity but also allowed us to add eight workstations for use by our growing team, as well as a sound mitigation room for our noisy embossers and carpeting to further reduce noise. With a more healthful and efficient work environment, we are poised to build additional capacity in 2019.
Our sincerest thanks to these generous donors, without whom our significantly improved work environment would never have come to fruition:
Alvin and Marion Birnschein Foundation, Inc.
Industries For the Blind, Inc.
Schoenleber Foundation, Inc.
Conoco Philips Company
Anon Charitable Trust
Ziemann Foundation, Inc.
Melitta S. and Joan M. Pick Charitable Trust
Catherine and Walter Lindsay Foundation Fund of The Greater Milwaukee Foundation Lori and Gene Batchelder
Beverly Doherty & Thomas Hamilton
Andrew & Paula Holman