Press contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940
Public contact: Roberta Stevens (202) 707-1550

September 18, 2008

Hundreds of Volunteers Support National Book Festival

Some 450 Junior League of Washington Volunteers Join Library of Congress Staff, Others to Assist at National Mall Event Sept. 27

The 2008 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by First Lady Laura Bush, will be supported by the volunteer efforts of hundreds of Junior League of Washington members as an estimated 120,000 book-lovers flock to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27. The festival, which is free and open to the public, will be held on the Mall between 3rd and 7th streets, rain or shine.

"The Junior League of Washington is generously contributing 450 volunteers to the 2008 National Book Festival. They will play many important roles, among them managing the lines of enthusiastic festival attendees getting their books signed by beloved authors and joining representatives from throughout the country to distribute information about each state’s reading and literacy programs in the popular Pavilion of the States. Once again, these spirited young women will be visible throughout the festival, cheerfully answering questions and providing copies of the printed program. We are deeply grateful to the Junior League for their sustained commitment to making this national celebration of books and reading a resounding success year after year," said Roberta Stevens, manager of the National Book Festival for the Library of Congress.

The Junior League of Washington is involved in several efforts that promote literacy among children and adults. In addition to its work with the National Book Festival, the JLW also provides volunteers to do literacy-related work in classrooms with children affected by HIV/AIDS, to work with adults affected by homelessness or recovering from addiction, and in support of Bright Beginnings, a day-care center for low-income and homeless children. The Junior League of Washington also supports the N Street Village—which provides services for homeless women—and supports cultural literacy through its involvement with the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Throughout its history, the JLW has given more than $4.7 million back to the community. Members of several of its youth groups will attend the festival.

"The Junior League of Washington is once again thrilled to be part of the National Book Festival by providing volunteers," said JLW President Diana Marousek. "The National Book Festival is truly an extension of the work our 2,300 members are doing in the area of literacy every day. From our work with our 19 community placements, to community training to our fund raisers, all of our JLW members are committed to tackling the problem of illiteracy in the Nation's Capital," she said.

More than 70 authors and illustrators, including First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush, will participate in the National Book Festival this year.

Festival authors, illustrators and poets will discuss their work in pavilions dedicated to Children, Teens & Children, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Home & Family and Poetry. PBS characters and NBA/WNBA players will appear at the festival, including NBA Legend and Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and players Chris Duhon and Ivory Latta. Each year, players participate in the festival by reading their favorite children’s books aloud with the help of students from local area schools as part of "NBA Cares."

In the Library of Congress Pavilion, festivalgoers can preview the Library of Congress Experience through a History Channel video and a bonus feature from the movie "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Thomas Jefferson Building and visits with the Library’s experts. An array of interactive activities awaits at myLOC.gov, where visitors can explore rare items from the Library’s collections and register online, to bookmark areas of interest for access from a home computer. Children and adults at the festival will be among the first to test Knowledge Quest, an interactive learning adventure that involves solving puzzles and riddles tied to items in the Library.

Book-lovers at the festival will also be the first to get a preview of the World Digital Library, the Library’s ambitious new project which will make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, important books, manuscripts, maps, films, prints, photographs and sound recordings contributed by partnering institutions worldwide.

Experts from the Library’s preservation program will also be on hand at the Library of Congress Pavilion to explain how to care for a treasured home library – offering information about conservation and preservation of books and paper. Meanwhile, photography fans will enjoy a display on the popular collaboration between the Library of Congress and the photo-sharing Web site Flickr.

Children and families will enjoy the activities in the Let’s Read America Pavilion, including getting their pictures taken with Bullseye, the Target dog; seeing cast member performances from PBS’ all-new "The Electric Company" or joining "Martha Speaks" author Susan Meddaugh for drawing and story time; or learning about good saving habits from "Sammy the Saver" Rabbit, sponsored by the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union.

There will also be walk-around characters from such PBS shows as "Sid the Science Kid," "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Word Girl," and "Maya and Miguel." Children can participate in fun experiments with "The Dirtmeister" and in read-alouds with "Ms. Frizzle" at Scholastic Inc.’s Magic School Bus.

To access the National Book Festival Young Readers’ Online Toolkit, to hear podcasts by many of the authors who will present at the festival, or to download the 2008 National Book Festival Poster, go to the National Book Festival Web site at www.loc.gov/bookfest/.

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PR 08-169
09/18/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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