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Alternatives for Future Operations of the Books for the Blind Program

Section 6 - Future Alternatives by Planning Horizon and Major Scenario

This section of the report presents alternatives for future operations of the Books for the Blind Program for three different planning horizons, or time frames: short term, medium term, and long term.  There are no pre-established, fixed-time intervals for these three planning horizons, rather they are loosely defined as short term being from the present through approximately the next three years, during which the transition to the new digital system should be completed (if defined as all users in the program having DTBMs); medium term being defined as following short term and running through 10 to 13 years from the present; and long term defined as following the medium term period with the general perspective of where the system will be approximately 15 to 20 years from now.

Presented below are future scenarios for the Books for the Blind Program within the context of the short-term, medium--term, and long-term planning horizons, including the assumptions, risks, and actions associated with each scenario.  These are undoubtedly a subset of all the possible scenarios, and others almost certainly exist.

6.1   Scenario 1: Short term; central production/decentralized circulation (current model)

The current business model for the program continues to exist and provides services the same way that it has in the past.

Assumptions:

Risks:

Actions:

6.2    Scenario 2: Short term; current model with collaboration among libraries to take advantage of resource sharing in an evolutionary manner

Regional libraries with reduced resources may address the problem by outsourcing part of their service to other libraries. That is, a service contract for audiobooks (RC and DB) may become as normal as outsourcing for braille service currently is.

Assumptions:

Risks:

Actions:

6.3   Scenario 3: Medium term; continued closing of subregional libraries and their consolidation into regional libraries            

Attrition among network libraries may continue to reduce the number of existing subregional libraries throughout the United States.

Assumptions:

Risks:

Actions:   

6.4   Scenario 4: Medium term; centralized service—all production of collections and circulation of talking-book service from a central location(s)

The need for network libraries will disappear as services are offered from one or several centralized points to all eligible program users throughout the country.

Assumptions:

Risks:

Actions:

6.5   Scenario 5: Medium term; duplication-on-demand (DOD) centers back up network libraries

This concept was formulated in an early transition planning study after it appeared to be too expensive for NLS to provide mass-duplicated digital copies of audiobooks on flash memory cartridges in quantity to every network library, but it still may be feasible for the network to have such an operation.  If there were a center(s) to back up regional libraries, it would mean less facility space and reduced costs for local collection storage and distribution.

Assumptions:

Risks:

Actions:

6.6   Scenario 6: Long term; NLS moves from physical collections to electronic digital collections deliverable through telecommunication means

The current business model will move to digital electronic-only collections at network (regional) libraries.  In the next five to seven years, advances in technology will enable NLS to design and develop new software combinations that will allow digital talking books to be downloaded directly to a player or “pushed” to a player by network library staff.

Assumptions:

Risks:

Actions:

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Posted on 2013-06-28