Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

September 24, 2008

Keynote By ADA Center Director Marian Vessels Begins Library's Celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month

Celebration to Include Lectures, Film, Demonstrations, Display and Web Site

With a national theme of "America’s People, America’s Talent, America’s Strength," Disability Employment Awareness Month will be celebrated by the Library of Congress throughout the month of October with a keynote address and several programs.

These events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Marian Vessels, director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, will deliver the 2008 Disability Employment Awareness keynote address at the Library of Congress at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

As director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, Vessels provides disability awareness training and seminars on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), covering such issues as current legislation and employment. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is one of 10 regional centers established to provide training, information, and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to businesses, consumers, schools, and state and local governments. Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research within the U.S. Department of Education, the regional centers form a nationwide network of Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers.

Prior to this position, Vessels served as executive director of the Maryland Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. She also worked as the director of the Maryland Governor’s Office for Individuals with Disabilities and was an executive board member for the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

At 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon on Thursday, Oct. 23, the Library will offer demonstrations of the Kurzweil automated reading technology in the Assistive Technology Demonstration Center in Room G45 of the James Madison Building. This equipment converts printed text to an audible voice output. Two versions of the technology will be featured: a common flatbed scanner and a portable digital camera.

At 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, Betty Siegel, ADA Coordinator for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., will discuss the center’s use of audio description (additional narration track) for its Theater Series shows. The lecture will be held in the West Dining Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building.

At 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, in Room 139 of the James Madison Building, the Library will present a film 57-minute documentary film titled "Right to Risk," which follows eight individuals with significant physical disabilities on a 15-day whitewater raft trip down 225 miles of Colorado River through the most inaccessible and awe-inspiring environment of Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

In addition to these events, throughout the month of October a disability and diversity display will be on view in the lobby of the Library’s James Madison Building and on the Library’s Web site at www.loc.gov.

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PR 08-170
09/24/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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