March 5, 2007 National Literary Society of the Deaf Becomes a Center for the Book Reading Promotion Partner

Activities on March 13 Include Display, PBS Documentary, Jefferson Building Tour

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202)707-7302
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Twenty-eight deaf people, interested in furthering their education, attended the first meeting of the National Literary Society of the Deaf (NLSD) on Feb. 6, 1907, at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. One hundred years later, that group has grown to some 2,000 organizations and individuals, who will certainly celebrate NLSD’s reading promotion partnership with the Library’s Center for the Book.

A program of public events marking the new partnership will be held on Tuesday, March 13, beginning at 11 a.m., in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The Center for the Book, NLSD, Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action and the Library of Congress Deaf Association are sponsoring the program, which is free and open to the public. Tickets or reservations are not required.

“The Center for the Book is extremely pleased to welcome the National Literary Society of the Deaf as a reading promotion partner,” said John Cole, Center for the Book director. “The purpose of the partnership program, which was established in 1987 and now includes more than 80 nonprofit organizations and government offices or agencies, is to share information –and on occasion join forces—in promoting books, literacy, reading and libraries."

Speakers will include NLSD President Ricardo Lopez; Robert R. Davila, president of Gallaudet University; Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian of the D.C. Public Library; Nancy Bloch, chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf; and Diana Gates, reference and instruction librarian at Gallaudet University Library.

At 1 p.m., PBS will present excerpts from its newly released film documentary, “Through Deaf Eyes,” the first comprehensive film on deaf history. The presenters will be WETA’s Karen Kenton, film executive producer; Ferne Barrow, WETA-TV26 outreach director; and filmmaker Lawrence Hott, Florentine Films/Hott Productions. The two-hour film will be broadcast on Wednesday, March 21 at 9 p.m. EDT on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).

A tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building will follow at 3 p.m., led by Gary Thomas and Alex Richey, members of the Library of Congress Deaf Association.

Three new directories will also be displayed and made available in the West Dining Room during the program. They are “Deaf Community Contacts @ your library,” “Speakers and Storytellers Sign @ your library” and “Books About and By Deaf Persons @ your library.”

NLSD’s purpose is to promote deaf culture, books and literary culture through programs and exhibitions, particularly at public libraries. Initially focused on activities at the D.C. Public Library, the organization recently expanded its efforts to libraries nationwide.

Established in 1977, the Center for the Book uses the resources of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries. For information about its events, projects, publications, state affiliates and national reading promotion partners, visit


PR 07-040
ISSN 0731-3527