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

July 23, 2008

Library of Congress Seeks Volunteer Docents

16 Week Training Program to Begin Sept. 2

Each year the Library of Congress receives more than 1 million visitors eager to view the magnificent Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C., and to learn about the treasures it contains. In April 2008, the Library inaugurated its new Library of Congress Experience featuring three new exhibitions and interactive displays for visitors. In December 2008, the tunnel from the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center to the Library will open. These developments are expected to bring even more visitors to the Library.

To address this growth, beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 2, the Library's Visitor Services Office is offering 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.

Docent training classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from Sept. 2 through Dec. 19 at the Library of Congress, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

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 lead an audience on a qualifying tour before providing their first public tours. On average, volunteer docents work one four hour shift per week. Volunteers receive free parking and discounts in the Library Shop and cafeteria, and are eligible 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 the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staff, 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 Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at www.myLOC.gov.

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PR 08-131
07/23/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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