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Accessibility at the 25th Virginia Festival of the Book



The 25th Anniversary Virginia Festival of the Book is fast approaching, taking place from Wednesday, March 20 through Sunday, March 24, 2019. Blue Trunk spoke with Sarah Lawson, Assistant Director at Virginia Center for the Book to talk about Festival accessibility.

The Festival has grown significantly over the past 25 years, and this year there are over 70 venues spread out across Charlottesville and Albemarle. The Festival strives to have something for everyone, and their events cover all reading levels, ages, and genres. This year there are more than 130 public programs that are completely free to the public. You can show up to the event without a ticket, and you don’t need to buy the book (or even need to have read the book). They invite you to join them and enjoy the discussions.

Where to Find Accessibility Information for the Festival


If you are seeking information about physical accessibility you can read the venue information on their site. To see accessibility information, click on the purple “Venue Details” button. Once on the venue page the accessibility information will be listed (if it is available). If you have further questions about accessibility, please contact either the Festival via email at vabook@virginia.edu or contact the venue directly.




The events are general admissions for seating and the Festival supports the venues’ existing seating policies. However, they make every effort to ensure there is accessible seating for those who need it. You can contact the Festival before the event to save you a seat by name or you can request priority seating when you arrive at the event.

Transportation

It is important to plan for transportation since the Festival venues are geographically spread out around Charlottesville and Albemarle county. The venue details provide parking information and a Google map of the venue location. They have transportation information listed on their site and Blue Trunk’s blog on Charlottesville Public Transit also has helpful information. If you plan to ride the bus and do not want to carry change you can purchase a Smart Card Pass at the Downtown Transit Station.

Requesting Accommodations

The Festival would love to help make the events more accessible for you. In order for them to make the events more accessible, please reach out with accommodation requests, such as ASL interpretation. The best way to make these requests is via email at vabook@virginia.edu. They will do their best to fulfill your request! The Festival was excited to offer a program last year featuring deaf and hard of hearing authors in collaboration with Civic Access, a local social enterprise specializing in interpreting and captioning services. You can read more about the 2018 event here. The Festival was excited to feature these authors and reach out to the deaf and hard of hearing community in Charlottesville and Albemarle. They hope to hold a similar event next year for the 2020 Festival. Again, if you have accommodation requests for any of the events this year they encourage you to contact them. It is important to them that the Festival is inclusive for all reading levels, ages, and abilities.


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