July 6, 2009 Library of Congress Seeks Volunteer Docents

16 Week Training Program to Begin Sept. 8

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: James Hughes (202) 707 9867

The Library of Congress has seen an increased number of visitors—by approximately 40 percent—since inaugurating the Library of Congress Experience and its new exhibitions in April 2008. To best serve the more than 1.6 million visitors who come each year, eager to view the magnificent Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C., and learn about the treasures it contains, the Library’s Visitor Services Office relies on more than 230 trained volunteers to staff the Information Desks and conduct tours.

Each fall, the Library's Visitor Services Office offers a 16 week training program for volunteer docents who will gain the skills necessary to lead tours of the Library's historic Thomas Jefferson building. The 2009 training classes for docents will begin on Sept. 8, 2009.

Docent training classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from Sept. 8 through Dec. 18 at the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill. The nearest Metro stop is Capitol South.

The training curriculum covers all aspects of the Library and is specially designed to prepare docents to give interesting and informative tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building and include all levels of information about the Library. The classes are presented by Library staff as well as experts from outside the Library. The curriculum focuses on the past, present and future of the Library; curatorial divisions; programs; collections care and use; organization and infrastructure; and the art and architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building. In addition to classroom training, the docent class will go on field trips and outings.

Once the training is completed, participants will be thoroughly prepared to lead tours of the Library. Docents in training each will present a qualifying tour to an audience of their choosing before providing their first public tours. On average, volunteer docents work one four hour shift per week, providing two tours. Volunteers are eligible for free parking and discounts in the Library Shop and cafeteria, as well as for free flu shots. For more information about the program and other volunteer opportunities, contact James Hughes at (202) 707 9867, jahu@loc.gov, or visit www.loc.gov/help/volunteer-application.html.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world's knowledge in almost all of the world's languages and America's private sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats.

The Library seeks to spark the public's imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the Library helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. Today, the Library serves Members of Congress and their staff, scholars and the public—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library's rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library's award winning website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at myLOC.gov.


PR 09-135
ISSN 0731-3527