Patricia A. Maurer
Director of Reference, Jacobus tenBroek Library
For many years now, Patricia Maurer has introduced the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to thousands of people around the State of Maryland and abroad through countless speaking engagements and numerous tours of the National Center for the Blind. As Director of Community Relations, a position she has held since 1988, Patricia responds to many telephone, letter, and email inquiries that come to the National Center for the Blind. In addition, Patricia coordinates some of the national activities regarding Braille literacy and childhood education for the blind.
In 2005, Patricia began serving as the Director of Reference for the Jacobus tenBroek Library, located in the NFB Jernigan Institute. In this capacity, she continues her work of educating individuals and groups, now with an enlarged reference trove to call upon. Questions concerning blindness and blind people come to her from a wide range of sources-from children writing school reports, to adults experiencing vision loss, to researchers interested in blindness.
Growing up in a small town in Iowa, Patricia decided at a young age that she would like to teach children. She earned a Bachelor's degree in elementary and special education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and, in 1975, she received her certification to teach learning disabled students from the University of Indiana. Meanwhile, she met and married a young blind man from Iowa, and over the next several years, the Maurers raised their two sighted children.
In 1986, her husband, Dr. Marc Maurer, was elected President of the National Federation of the Blind and in 1988 she began accompanying her husband as NFB's U.S. Friendship Ambassador to the World Blind Union Quadrennial meetings in Cape Town, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Cairo, Egypt; and Madrid, Spain.
A member of the NFB since 1968, Patricia has served in many capacities. In 1985 she was elected to serve as Treasurer of the Greater Baltimore chapter of the National Federation of the Blind and continues in that capacity today. In 1980, she was appointed as a member of the Public Relations Committee for the NFB; and in 1979, she was appointed as a member of the Affiliate Action Committee for the National Federation of the Blind.
Patricia received the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland Kenneth Jernigan Award in 1997. Honors have come to her from outside of the Federation as well. In 2004, Patricia received the Volunteer of the Year Award in Baltimore, Maryland.
Known for her humorous stories and relaxed manner as a public speaker, Patricia has been invited to speak about Braille and childhood educational curriculums at education seminars. In 1999 she was appointed as chairperson of the Braille Literacy Test Tutorial Committee for the publication, Braille: A Code for Success.
Patricia's experiences as a blind leader and thoughts on blindness have appeared in print a number of times. In 1973, Patricia coauthored a paperback that became popular with teachers around the country, called Your School Includes a Blind Student. In 1995, she authored "Learning to Read" for the NFB Kernel Book Toothpaste and Railroad Tracks; in 1996, she wrote "Homework: This Mom's Perspective" for the NFB Kernel Book Beginnings and Bluprints; in 1997, she authored "On With the Show" for the NFB Kernel Book Like Cats and Dogs; and, in 2001, Patricia authored "Little Things Do Count" for the NFB Kernel Book Safari.