Release Date: 
Thursday, January 4, 2007
John G. Paré Jr.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2371
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Will Manage National Braille Transcribing and Proofreading Certification Program

Jernigan Institute Will Help Make More Braille Books Available

Baltimore, Maryland (January 4, 2007): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s largest consumer organization of the blind and the leading promoter of Braille literacy in America, announced today that the NFB has been awarded a contract by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress (NLS) to conduct that agency’s National Braille Transcribing and Proofreading Certification Program. The announcement comes on the anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (1809-1852), the French inventor of the reading and writing system universally accepted as the most effective literacy tool for blind persons.

The contract from NLS was awarded to the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the only research and training facility for the blind operated by the blind. The NFB Jernigan Institute will conduct all administrative functions of the certification program, including the recruitment, training, and evaluation of individuals wishing to become certified Braille transcribers and proofreaders.

Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, Executive Director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, said: “We are pleased and proud to have the opportunity to work with NLS to implement this critically important program. We are dedicated to significantly increasing the number of qualified Braille transcribers and proofreaders, thus making Braille literature, instructional materials, and musical scores more available to the blind of America.”

Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind continues to be committed to increasing awareness of and proficiency in Braille. The implementation of the Braille transcriber and proofreader certification program is the latest manifestation of this commitment, which has also included the passage of important legislation mandating Braille instruction for blind children and the passage just this past summer of legislation authorizing the minting of a commemorative coin in honor of Louis Braille. Research has consistently shown that knowledge of Braille is critical to blind persons becoming equal participants in the workplace and in their communities. The dedicated professionals at our Jernigan Institute will work tirelessly to make sure that materials in Braille become more widely available to blind Americans of all ages, interests, and disciplines.”