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September 25, 2010

2010 Library of Congress National Book Festival Attracts 150,000 to National Mall

Nearly 1 Million People Over 10 Years Have Attended Event Celebrating Reading

Setting a new attendance record, an estimated 150,000 book-lovers gathered today on the National Mall in Washington, D.C for the 10th annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, with Honorary Chairs President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and David M. Rubenstein, who this year gave the festival a $5 million gift, are co-chairs of the new National Book Festival Board.

Festival-goers celebrated creativity and imagination with their favorite authors, illustrators and poets in standing-room-only pavilions, including Let’s Read America; the Pavilion of the States; Children; Teens & Children; Fiction & Mystery; Poetry & Prose; History & Biography; and the Library of Congress pavilion, which featured programs such as the Veterans History Project and demonstrations by Library staff about how people can preserve their own books, photos and audiovisual materials. Authors also signed books for long lines of their fans.

"This year the National Book Festival is celebrating a decade of words and wonder, giving nearly 1 million people the opportunity to interact directly with some of the most gifted and most popular authors of our time, and millions more to enjoy the experience online," Billington said. "Thanks to Mr. Rubenstein and all of our sponsors and supporters, this national tradition will continue for years to come."

More than 70 best-selling authors, poets and illustrators gave presentations including Isabel Allende, Ken Follett, Michele Norris, Suzanne Collins, Laura Bush, Jonathan Franzen, Brad Meltzer, Jane Smiley, David Remnick, Craig Robinson, Anchee Min, Pat Mora, Jules Feiffer, Elizabeth Kostova, Scott Turow, Judith Viorst, Peter Straub, Gordon S. Wood, Diana Gabaldon, Martha Grimes, Timothy Egan, Bruce Feiler, Wil Haygood and Spike Mendelsohn .

For those who were unable to attend the festival or missed a pavilion, the authors’ presentations are available as webcasts on the festival homepage (www.loc.gov/bookfest/).

Highlights of the festival included:

  • The launch of "Gateway to Knowledge," a traveling exhibit on a tractor-trailer that will visit some 60 communities across America, sponsored by the Abby and Emily Rapoport Foundation. (www.loc.gov/gateway/)
  • A "readers' theater" presentation led by National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Katherine Paterson of the final chapter of "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure," a year-long, serialized story written by many beloved children's authors and illustrated by notable artists. The story can be found online exclusively at www.read.gov.
  • The Digital Bookmobile, a high-tech exhibit powered by OverDrive, which supports reading and literacy with eBooks from libraries, for the second year in a row enabled visitors to browse a public library’s website, sample popular eBooks, audiobooks, music and video titles, and learn how to download and try out supported mobile devices.
  • Children sang along with PBS KIDS’ SteveSongs, enjoyed Read Alouds with Martha from Martha Speaks, and posed for pictures with PBS KIDS characters from the cast of Super Why, Abby Cadabby from "Sesame Street," Buddy from "Dinosaur Train," and other favorite characters such as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the Cat in the Hat.
  • Target, a charter sponsor of the National Book Festival, featured "Mail from the Mall," where festival-goers got their pictures taken in front of a green screen and had their image incorporated into the book festival poster and put on a postcard.
  • Reporters and editors from Charter Sponsor The Washington Post introduced several of the author presentations.
  • Authors posed for photos with festival-goers in the Pavilion of the States, which featured information about reading- and literacy-promotion programs and literary events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. trusts and territories.

The 2010 National Book Festival is made possible through the generous support of Co-Chairman, National Book Festival Board David M. Rubenstein; Charter Sponsors Target and The Washington Post; Patrons AT&T, Institute of Museum and Library Services, The James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS Raising Readers; Contributors Borders, Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive, Penguin Group (USA), ReadAloud.org, Scholastic Inc. and the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union; and Friends The Hay-Adams, the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to C-SPAN2’s Book TV and The Junior League of Washington.

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PR 10-220
09/25/10
ISSN 0731-3527

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