Volume 29, Number 2, Summer 2007

Florida Governor and the Florida Sterling Council Recognize the Division of Blind Services

Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Sterling Council announced “The Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services Material Recording Team” from the Division of Blind Services, Daytona Beach, as a finalist in the Florida Sterling Council Team Showcase. The team will compete to receive top state honors at the 15th Annual Sterling Conference held May 29 - June 1 at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. The winner will receive the prestigious designation of “State Team Showcase Champion” and will qualify to compete at the Association for Quality and Participation National Conference.

“Through retraining staff volunteers, adding a quality control editing checklist and reference manuals, and upgrading equipment and studios to current national standards, we have made a 122 percent improvement in the quality indicators of recording products that we produce and provide to our customers,” says Michael G. Gunde, Chief of the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services, Division of Blind Services, Florida Department of Education.

The Sterling Quality Team Showcase provides a public forum for organizations to put the principles of performance excellence into practice through teamwork and employee participation. Team Showcase competitions are held annually throughout the state in six regions, with each region showcase winner being selected to compete at the annual Sterling Conference for the designation of Team Showcase Champion.

To increase the quality of products and services for people who cannot use standard print reading materials, the team implemented the Six Sigma Strategy to assist in determining areas for improvement. The Project Selection Matrix assisted in creating the goal for improvements in library recordings production. By using outside quality assurance, they were able to target three areas where improvements were most needed: Indexing Tone Placement, Accurately Worded and Correctly Placed Announcements, and the Recording Volume Levels. They then developed measures to drastically improve the quality of recorded products.

The Library provides 39,000 customers annually with products and services specially geared toward readers with visual, physical, or reading disabilities. Florida customers encompass 6 percent of the nation’s talking book library readership, and library recordings in the form of “talking books” are an integral part of the products and services that they offer to their customers. The Library currently records over thirty magazines and newsletters not available from other sources. These recordings are produced on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.

Established in 1992, the Florida Sterling Council is a public/private not-for-profit corporation supported by the Executive Office of the Governor. Sterling's Annual Conference is exclusively designed to teach participants how to elevate performance and increase productivity. More than 1,200 executives and professionals gather at this event for a one-stop source for education, information, and inspiration. The conference concludes with the recognition of best practices, the Team Showcase Champion, and presentation of the Governor's Sterling Awards. For more information on the Florida Sterling Council, contact Dione Geiger at (850) 922-5316. For other information, visit the Florida Sterling Council Web site.