The Library of Congress is using videophones made by Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Communications to help deaf and hard-of-hearing staff members.

Sorenson is providing training and ongoing support free of charge to the Library of Congress of 16 VP-200 videophones and the Sorenson Video Replay Service, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

To use the service, staffers call a nationwide network of American Sign Language interpreters, who can be seen on a TV screen. The interpreter calls the hearing recipient on a standard phone line and relays the conversation between the two parties. The service is revolutionizing communication for deaf and hard-of-hearing people because it enables them to communicate in ASL, which relies heavily on body language, facial expression and quick hand movements.

The Library of Congress developed a secure internal network to link the Sorenson Communications videophones. The network serves 20 deaf staff members who work in a variety of positions in the library, the research arm of Congress.