Visitors to the Library of Congress Pavilion at the 2007 National Book Festival experienced some of the many ways that the Library collects, preserves and provides access to knowledge, sparks imagination and creativity, and celebrates achievement.
Redesigned for the 2007 festival, the Library of Congress Pavilion invited visitors to learn how to preserve their precious family photographs, letters, diaries and other documents; to explore the Library’s collections online using the Library’s popular Web site; to watch a video describing the Library’s plans for a new visitors’ experience in 2008 in the Thomas Jefferson Building and a new Ad Council campaign for the Library; to listen to veterans tell their stories during Veterans History Project programs throughout the day; to write their names and favorite authors on the ever-popular graffiti wall; and to engage in interactive educational games available on computers.
Visitors Experience: A video described plans for new exhibitions and the opportunities for visitors to experience unprecedented interactive access to the rare and unique treasures that are protected and preserved by the nation’s library. Visitors were able to sign up at the festival to receive updates about this new project and the opening date.
Preserving America’s Memories: Visitors learned how to preserve their families’ memories and digital photographs, discovered what happens to compact discs and other recorded materials over time, sewed pages in an oversized book and viewed examples of the Library’s extraordinary motion picture, broadcasting and recorded sound collections. Experts from the Copyright Office demonstrated how to search copyright records and provided consultations on registering original works.
Imagination Station: Young people had fun exploring the Library through a variety of interactive educational games.
Graffiti Wall: Visitors young and old were invited to view and add to the large boards their thoughts about the books and authors they love and why, as well as their top choices for the Library of Congress’s collections.
Veterans History Project: People visiting the Library’s pavilion learned how to interview veterans in their communities for the Library’s growing collection of oral histories, memoirs, letters and photographs documenting the war experiences of veterans and their civilian supporters.
Veterans, military historians and individuals who have collected and used veterans’ histories made special presentations.
Margaret E. Wagner, Susan Reyburn and Linda Barrett Osborne discussed and signed their book, “The Library of Congress World War II Companion,” a definitive reference work on World War II resources. The book draws on the collections of the Library of Congress, as well as those of libraries, museums and archives around the world, to paint a total picture of this conflict. Veterans History Project historian Tom Wiener moderated a discussion of the creation of the book and why it supersedes all previous one-volume books on the subject.
Ward Chamberlin, who drove an ambulance with the American Field Service, and Joseph Vaghi, who served with the U.S. Navy in the European and Pacific theaters, talked about their experiences in World War II and about filming the new PBS documentary film, “The War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. They signed copies of “The War,” a book based on the film, which offers a ground-level view of World War II, intertwining stories of veterans from four American towns: Waterbury, Conn.; Mobile, Ala.; Luverne, Minn.; and Sacramento, Calif. The story of scouting for the four American towns was also discussed earlier in the day as Wiener interviewed Novick, co-producer of “The War,” and Sarah Botstein, who spent five years looking for home movies, historical films and other documentary materials to include in the film.
Five of the Korean War veterans who were interviewed by journalist and historian David Halberstam for his book, “The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War,” recounted their war experiences and memories of working with the late Halberstam during a panel discussion led by Daun Van Ee of the Library’s Manuscript Division, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War. They signed copies of the book, which Halberstam completed just before he died in April.
Five veterans featured in “Forever a Soldier: The Veterans History Project 2008 Calendar” discussed their wartime experiences. VHP historian Tom Wiener led a discussion by Jose Mares, a veteran of the Korean War and a prisoner of war during that conflict; Brian and Jeanne Markle, who were married and then served together during the Vietnam War; Walter Morris, the leader of the first African-American parachute battalion during World War II; and Tracy Sugarman, a naval officer who landed on the beach at Normandy in June 1944. They signed copies of the calendar following the presentation.
Three Loudon Valley High School teachers from Purcellville, Va., demonstrated how they have used Veterans History Project collections in the classroom. Teachers Marty Potts, Diana Miner and Leslie Bower discussed their experiences, and two of their students conducted an interview with Joe Ichiuji, a World War II veteran who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.