The fourth annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Laura Bush, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public.
"As America's library, the Library of Congress invites readers from around the country to this widely anticipated national event," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "More than 70,000 people joined us on the National Mall last year to celebrate books, reading and creativity. We hope many more will come this year and join in the fun."
"The National Book Festival is a wonderful opportunity for book lovers to celebrate reading," said Laura Bush. "Whether you're a lifelong reader or a beginner, I hope you will mark your calendar for Oct. 9 to discover new books and inspiring writers."
The 2004 festival features more than 70 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets (see list below). Special guests in the "Home & Family" Pavilion include Leigh and Leslie Keno from PBS' "Antiques Roadshow," Kevin O'Connor and Tom Silva from "This Old House," also seen on PBS, and chef Patrick O'Connell of the Inn at Little Washington.
Festival goers can have books signed by their favorite authors, and children can meet some of their favorite storybook and television characters, such as Arthur and Clifford the Big Red Dog, who will appear on the festival grounds throughout the day.
A new author pavilion, "Science Fiction & Fantasy," has been added to this year's festival. The other author pavilions, in addition to "Home & Family," are "Children," "Teens & Children," "Fiction & Imagination," "Mysteries & Thrillers," "History & Biography" and "Poetry." Throughout the day authors in the pavilions will discuss their work and what inspires them to write.
Representatives from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and American trusts and territories will discuss and distribute materials about their reading and literacy promotion programs in the "Pavilion of the States." Reading activities that are fun for the whole family will be featured in the "Let's Read America" Pavilion.
Star players from the National Basketball Association's "Read to Achieve" program will be among the presenters in the Children's Pavilion, and the national student winners of the Library of Congress/Target Stores "Letters About Literature" reading and writing program will read their letters in the "Teens & Children" Pavilion.
The Library of Congress Pavilion will feature two oral history projects: Voices of Civil Rights, a joint project of the Library of Congress, AARP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the Veterans History Project. Over the next year, the Voices project will collect and preserve thousands of personal accounts of ordinary people who have fought for civil rights in America. The Veterans History Project is collecting the stories of those who served in World Wars I and II, and the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, as well as stories from those who were actively involved in supporting the war efforts.
National Book Festival attendees can participate in these projects by contacting a volunteer in the Library's pavilion. Demonstrations of the Library's acclaimed Web site (accessible at www.loc.gov) and its resources for parents, children, teachers and lifelong learners will occur throughout the day.
The artist for this year's festival painting is award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper. Cooper has illustrated more than 15 books and is the author of three of them. His whimsical image for the 2004 festival is as imaginative as the act of reading. Posters featuring Cooper's painting will be available free of charge during the festival.
The National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from charter sponsors AT&T, The Washington Post and the Institute of Museum and Library Services; patrons AARP, the James Madison Council, Jones International University, the National Endowment for the Arts, Target Stores and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; and contributors Barnes & Noble, PBS, Scholastic Inc. and others.
For more information about the festival, visit www.loc.gov/bookfest.