Contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940

September 26, 2011

Estimated 200,000 Attend 2011 Library of Congress National Book Festival

First Two-day Festival Draws More Than 100 Award-winning Authors

An estimated 200,000 book-lovers gathered on the National Mall this weekend for the first-ever two-day National Book Festival. Organized by the Library of Congress with Honorary Co-Chairs President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, the 2011 event featured presentations and book signings by more than 100 of our nation’s bestselling authors, illustrators and poets including Toni Morrison, Hoda Kotb, Dave Eggers, David McCullough, Terry McMillan, Katherine Paterson, Garrison Keillor and Jim Lehrer (visit www.loc.gov/bookfest/authors/ for a complete list of participating authors).

"For more than a decade, the National Book Festival has given book lovers of all ages the rare opportunity to meet, interact with and be inspired by their favorite authors," said the Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington. "Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, such as David M. Rubenstein and Target – and the more than 1,100 volunteers who give their time to make this event possible – we can look forward to this beloved celebration of reading and literacy for years to come."

In addition to author appearances and signings, festival-goers were delighted by two action-packed days of photo opportunities with storybook characters, literacy games and special author readings. Authors also signed books for long lines of excited fans. For those who were unable to attend the festival or missed a pavilion, author presentation webcasts will be available at www.loc.gov/bookfest/, where festival-goers are also invited to share their feedback about the 2011 event by completing an online survey. The theme of this year’s festival was "Celebrate the joys of reading aloud".

2011 festival highlights included:

  • Three new genre pavilions. The Cutting Edge, Graphic Novels and State Poets Laureate pavilions gave festival-goers the opportunity to experience authors representing genres not previously represented at the National Book Festival.
  • The Library of Congress pavilion, which offered a greater array of staff and curator presentations about the Library’s offerings than ever before, gave pavilion visitors an opportunity to learn about the resources of our nation’s oldest federal institution directly from its experts. Discussion topics and activities included the Library’s new National Jukebox as well as guidance on how to research family genealogy and preserve photographs.
  • The Family Storytelling Stage. Sponsored by Target, the distinguished corporate benefactor of the National Book Festival, this new pavilion offered presentations by more than 20 authors and musicians whose books and performances are devoted to very young readers. The sponsorship is part of Target’s commitment to helping more children read proficiently by the end of grade 3.
  • Gateway to Knowledge Traveling Exhibition. The 2011 festival marks the end of a year on the road for the "Gateway to Knowledge" traveling exhibition, a tractor-trailer sponsored by the Abby and Emily Rapoport Foundation, which brought the Library’s offerings to 90 communities throughout the nation (www.loc.gov/gateway/).
  • The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. A readers' theater presentation, led by National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Katherine Paterson, rolled out the newly published book version of "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure"— a year-long, serialized story written by many beloved children's authors and illustrated by notable artists. The story originated online at www.read.gov.
  • The Digital Bookmobile. This high-tech exhibition powered by OverDrive, which supports reading and literacy with eBooks from libraries, for the third 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.
  • PBS KIDS pavilion. Inside this pavilion, 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 and other favorites, such as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the Cat in the Hat.
  • Washington Post. Reporters and editors from Charter Sponsor The Washington Post introduced several of the author presentations and the Post’s KidsPost page sponsored a special scavenger hunt for festival-going kids.
  • Let’s Read America pavilion. In the Let’s Read America pavilion, children and families enjoyed a range of activities offered by ReadAloud.org, The Washington Post, AT&T, the Penguin Group and Scholastic. Scholastic also returned to the festival with Mrs. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus.
  • Pavilion of the States. Authors posed for photos with festival-goers inside 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 2011 National Book Festival is made possible through the generous support of National Book Festival Board Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein; Distinguished Corporate Benefactor Target; Charter Sponsors The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patrons AT&T, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS; Contributors Barnes & Noble, Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive, Penguin Group (USA), ReadAloud.org and Scholastic Inc.; and--in the Friends category--the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc; the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction; The Hay-Adams and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to C-SPAN2’s Book TV and the Junior League of Washington.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

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PR 11-182
09/26/11
ISSN 0731-3527

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