Saturday, July 25, 2015

15th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival Coming Sept. 5

Free Event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Offers Array of Activities

The organizations sponsoring the Library of Congress National Book Festival offer an array of fun and exciting activities and programs for festival attendees of all ages in the exhibition area, on the lower level of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.    

The 15th National Book Festival will be held at the Washington Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (doors open at 9 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 5. The event is free and open to the public. More information is at

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are the honorary chairs of the event. The distinguished benefactor of the festival is David M. Rubenstein. Rubenstein also funds the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program.
National Book Festival sponsors will offer family-friendly activities on the exposition floor in Halls A, B and C and will be open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

In addition to the activities throughout the day, scheduled special events will be posted on the festival website and on on-site signage to help visitors plan their days. New to the festival this year will be an event app, available in coming weeks to give visitors additional scheduling tools.

Festival-goers can stop by the new Literacy Corner to learn what literacy is and why it is important, and to participate in literacy-themed activities. The Literacy Corner will feature an ongoing story time for ages 4 through 8, literacy information for parents, caregivers and educators, a graffiti wall and other interactive opportunities presented by Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program award winners. 

AARP will feature its literacy-focused programs for people of all ages in an exciting and interactive exhibition space filled with surprises, activities and contests. Giveaways and opportunities to win prizes will be offered throughout the day. 

AARP Experience Corps, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington Hylton Branch -- sponsored by the Old Dominion Chapter (VA), The Links, Incorporated -- and others will participate in story reading and interactive reading and literacy games. AARP TEK (Technology, Education, Knowledge) will provide a charging station for attendees to recharge electronic devices, while computer experts will answer technical questions and show people how to get the most out of their computers, tablets and phones. AARP Books will showcase useful publications, which will be available in the festival’s onsite Politics & Prose bookstore. Festivalgoers can also learn about AARP and the many “Real Possibilities” it provides for people of all ages.  Dynamic Life Reimagined programs will be showcased along with AARP’s efforts to “disrupt aging.”

A slide show will acquaint visitors with the history of AARP’s impact on the American landscape and AARP staff will provide information on community-focused programs and campaigns, volunteer opportunities and career opportunities at AARP.

Attendees can talk to representatives of their home states and learn about each state’s literary heritage from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the Pavilion of the States. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the major sponsor of this pavilion, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The IMLS and NEH support allows an affiliate of the Library’s Center for the Book in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories to come to the festival.  The “Discover Great Places Through Reading” brochure offers a list of 52 great reads and a map for kids that encourages them to visit all 52 affiliates (plus the Library of Congress Center for the Book) to get a unique sticker or stamp. Many of these books will be for sale in the festival bookstore.

The Washington Post will invite visitors to become their own storytellers in an exciting new series of spoken, written and visual activities. To celebrate the tradition of oral storytelling, local authors will read aloud from their books throughout the day. Festivalgoers can use their imaginations and practice writing by picking up a storytelling activity book that includes storybook word games, National Book Festival trivia, a create-your-own comic strip and a removable color-your-own bookmark. Visitors are welcome to complete each activity at special stations with examples of how to complete the exercise.  

The Post’s mascot, Ned the Newshound, returns to the festival and will make a special appearance from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to pose for photos.  As part of the Post’s longstanding partnership with the festival, a special edition of “Book World” covering the festival will be available at information booths.

This year Wells Fargo is excited to introduce Wells Fargo’s all-new Together Experience, where festival-goers can participate in a virtual maze challenge interactive game, record a testimonial in its video booth, take photos and win prizes.  Wells Fargo representatives will continue to read and share a large assortment of children’s books, and, of course, the Wells Fargo Stagecoach and hands-on history activities will be onsite as well.
The National Endowment for the Arts sponsors the Poetry & Prose pavilion of author presentations (Room 145AB), which will again feature readings and discussions by award-winning writers and poets, many of whom have received NEA Literature Fellowships.  The Poetry & Prose pavilion will also feature student champions from Poetry Out Loud, an NEA and Poetry Foundation program in which high-school students memorize and perform classic and contemporary poems in competition. The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, the National Endowment for the Arts and the poetry organization Split This Rock will also present the National Book Festival Youth Poetry Slam, which will showcase slammers from Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. 

C-SPAN2’s Book TV will be live from this year’s National Book Festival – as it has been for every festival. Its coverage of the festival will include author presentations and author call-in segments from the Book TV set. The network will also provide its ever-popular festival bag – this year in blue – available at information booths, the bookstore and at the Book TV exhibit on the exposition floor.  “First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women,” by Susan Swain and C-SPAN will be available in the festival bookstore.
The Junior League of Washington (JLW) will return as the Library’s primary partner for volunteer support, a role the organization has played since 2003. More than 400 JLW volunteers will manage the book-signing lines and staff other locations throughout the festival. The JLW is committed to promoting volunteerism, improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers and developing the potential of women. Learn more about the JLW, its mission and its focus on literacy at the JLW table.

The festival heads to Mars with National Geographic and Buzz Aldrin, the pioneering astronaut, rocket scientist, advocate for Mars exploration and author of the new children's book “Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet.” Aldrin will speak in the Children's pavilion at 1:20 p.m. and sign books from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, in the National Geographic exhibit, festival-goers of all ages can get an Interplanetary Experience.  Take space-selfies, play the “Pack Your Bag for Mars” game, enjoy the coloring station and learn tons of weird-but-true space facts. There will also be a chance to win exciting prizes and take some fun home with great giveaways.

Scholastic returns to the festival with an array of giveaways, tips and titles to help inspire the joy and power of reading and "Open a World of Possible" for all children. Young festival-goers can pose for a photo with their favorite literary characters and join in the arts-and-crafts fun by coloring and glittering special character pages. The whole family can kick back and relax in the reading corner, which will feature exciting new Scholastic releases and read-alouds scheduled every hour. Stop by and visit staff and volunteers from WAMU 88.5 FM, a festival media partner, to learn more about WAMU 88.5 programs and to pick up giveaways. WAMU 88.5 FM is one of the top news and information radio stations in the Washington, D.C. region and the leading NPR public radio station in the nation’s capital.  It provides comprehensive local, national and global news and is home to award-winning hosts and reporters, such as Diane Rehm and Kojo Nnamdi.

Young children and their families can share the joy of early-math learning at the Mathical Station sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Throughout the day, authors of Mathical storybooks will meet and greet kids and their families. Kids can sign up that day for mini-workshops on geometric balloon bending. The schedule also includes a chance to play apps and activities for early math learning, “e-book storytime with mathy tales” and a fold-and-create art activity for kids of all ages. Kids of all ages are encouraged to play! Many of the Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teen - a new youth book prize honoring the most inspiring math-related fiction and nonfiction books - will be available in the festival bookstore.

The Mensa Education & Research Foundation is working with the Library for a fourth year to create a festival poster Eye Spy activity and a Children’s Guide to the festival. The guide will be available online at, and at information booths.

The National Book Festival ( is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy. Since 2010, National Book Festival Board Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein has been the festival’s lead benefactor and has pledged funding for the festival for five more years. Charter Sponsors include AARP, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsor, the National Endowment for the Arts; the Contributor-level sponsors are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, Jacqueline B. Mars, The Junior League of Washington, National Geographic, Scholastic Inc. and WAMU 88.5 FM; and, in the Friends category, the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., the Cultural Institute of the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, The Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams, Inter-American Development Bank, The Jefferson Hotel, Susan Carmel Lehrman, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute with support from board chair Roger A. Strauch, Mensa Education & Research Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, NPR, Small Press Expo and Split This Rock. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions.
The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit

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