On Saturday, February 6, 2010, from one to four PM, the Deaf Library Friends: Puerto Rico will present a deaf cultural program in American Sign Language (ASL), “Bridging Deaf Cultures in Puerto Rico.” ASL/Spanish Interpreters will be provided.

Co-sponsored by the St. Gabriel School for the Deaf and Gracias VRS (Video Relay Service), the program will be held in the auditorium of the St. Gabriel School for the Deaf. The address is Prolongación Calle 19 N.E. Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico 00920.

Jose Carrasquillo, the school principal, will greet the audience. Three guest speakers will give a brief history about these two American schools for the deaf.


Edgardo Figueroa, Vice President, SOS Inc, will narrate Laurent Clerc and Thomas H. Gallaudet’s 52-day ocean voyage from France to America. Clerc and Gallaudet, along with Dr. Mason F. Cogswell, co-founded the American School for the Deaf in 1817. This was the first permanent school for the deaf in the West Hemisphere.

Alice L. Hagemeyer, President of the Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action (FOLDA), will invite deaf audience members to share their cultural experiences, describing what happened when they first learned ASL. Alice Cogswell, daughter of Dr. Cogswell, first learned signs from Laurent Clerc. Alice wrote later about this thrilling moment. She said, “My heart glow”.

Juan A. Lopez, School Librarian, will display pictures on the history of the first school for the deaf in Puerto Rico – San Gabriel School for the Deaf, founded in 1904. Lopez believes that if the deaf community does not know its own history, there can be “no school future”. Libraries in Puerto Rico can make a difference.

In closing, there will be a special workshop. Anthony “Tony” Eaddy, a deaf library friend, will share his experience with computers. He and Alec McFarlane will discuss technologies used in communication among deaf and hearing people. Gracias VRS will also explain how the technology works and available services.

Deaf Library Friends’ mission is to promote library access and quality deaf resources in local Puerto Rican communities. The program has been developed to facilitate cultural exchange and to raise appreciation for the deaf cultures and libraries that make America great.

Alec McFarlane, President
Deaf Library Friends: Puerto Rico
Phone: 866-791-8535

Submitted by Alice L. Hagemeyer
E-newsletter: Deaf Community and Library News