March 14, 2006 National Deaf History Month to Be Celebrated on April 10

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Eric Eldritch (202) 707-0698

National Deaf History Month, from March 13 to April 15, will be marked at the Library of Congress with a program titled “Celebrate Deaf Legacy @ Your Library” at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 10, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The Library’s Center for the Book and the Office of Workforce Diversity are hosting the event, which is sponsored by the American Library Association and the National Association of the Deaf. The program is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

“The Center for the Book is privileged to host an event that honors the instrumental role libraries have played in promoting public awareness of the history of the deaf community, deaf culture and American Sign Language,” said John Y. Cole, the center’s director. “With the American Library Association, one of the center’s national reading promotion partners, we look forward to encouraging libraries throughout the nation to celebrate National Deaf History Month.”

Gilbert Sandate, director of the Office of Workforce Diversity, said: “The workforce everywhere is becoming more and more diverse, which requires a greater awareness and support of effective communication methods in the workplace. The Library of Congress has a wonderful legacy of more than 20 deaf employees, who have contributed, collectively, more than 500 years of federal service to our institution.”

“This is an important milestone in recognizing the many contributions of the deaf community to American society,” said Alice L. Hagemeyer, founder and president, Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action and chair of the National Association of the Deaf’s ad hoc committee on Deaf History Month. “We are grateful to the Library of Congress for stepping forward to host the event and to the American Library Association for its approval of a National Deaf History Month resolution on June 25, 2005, during its annual conference in Chicago.”

Speakers at the April 10 program include Hagemeyer; Librarian of Congress James H. Billington; Nancy J. Bloch, chief executive officer, National Association of the Deaf; Keith Michael Fiels, executive director, American Library Association; Ernest E. Hairston, U.S. Department of Education; T. Alan Hurwitz, Rochester Institute of Technology; I. King Jordan, president, Gallaudet University; and Ricardo Lopez, president, National Literary Society of the Deaf.

A highlight of the program will be the introduction of a kit designed to provide information and resources for the nation’s libraries across the country for celebrating Deaf History Month. The Web site of the Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action makes the kit available online at: (click on “Library”).

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 by Public Law 95-129 to use the Library’s resources to stimulate public interest in books, reading and libraries. For information about its activities and those of its 50 state affiliates, visit


PR 06-061
ISSN 0731-3527