October 2, 2002 2002 National Book Festival to be Held October 12

Contact: Library of Congress contact: Craig D’Ooge (202) 707-9189 | Fleishman-Hillard contact: Devon Scanlon (202) 828-9738

Note to editors: To cover the official opening ceremony at the White House at 8:30 a.m., contact the White House press office at (202) 456-6313. To cover the National Book Festival, pick up press credentials available the day of the festival at the Media Pavilion, near First Street on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

More than 70 authors and storytellers will be joined by basketball stars, children’s storybook characters, reading advocates, musicians, food vendors, librarians and book lovers of all ages at the second National Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall between Third and Fourth Streets. The festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, is free and open to the public and is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a closing appearance by author David McCullough at 5 p.m. in the History and Biography Pavilion.

The festival is made possible by Charter Sponsors AT&T, The Washington Post, and WorkPlace USA; Patrons The James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, Open Russia Foundation, PBS, and Target; and other contributors (see Attachment Three).

“Reading and libraries are crucial to our national well-being. We want this National Book Festival to stimulate interest in authors, reading and the world of books and ideas,” Librarian of Congress James Billington said.

“America was transformed three days after the first National Book Festival was held September 8, 2001,” said Mrs. Bush. “But one thing that did not change was our love of spending time with friends and family—especially our children. The second annual book festival will give us an opportunity to celebrate and share our love of books, reading and storytelling.”

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural National Book Festival at the Library of Congress, this year’s event will feature more than 70 award-winning authors, illustrators and storytellers, from mystery writers such as Mary Higgins Clark and David Baldacci to storytellers Carmen Deedy and Waddie Mitchell and poets Billy Collins and Luci Tapahonso (see Attachment One). Players from the National Basketball Association’s and the Women’s National Basketball Association’s“Read to Achieve” program such as Jerry Stackhouse, Stacey Dales- Schuman, Bob Lanier, and Tamika Williams will also participate (see Attachment Two).

Events will include author readings and book discussions; performances by storytellers; book sales and signings; appearances by children’s storybook characters; a conservation clinic with demonstrations and free advice on preserving books, family letters and albums; and performances representing a wide range of America’s musical traditions (see Attachment Four).


Author and storytelling presentations and other activities will take place in pavilions on the West Lawn of the Capitol, thanks to support from the U.S. Congress. Pavilions will be devoted to:“Storytelling, ““Fiction & Imagination,” “Mysteries & Thrillers,” and “History & Biography,” with two pavilions for“Children & Young Adults.” Players from the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association’s “Read to Achieve”program will read and make appearances in the“Children & Young Adults” Pavilion II at 10:45 a.m. and at 1 p.m. A Library of Congress pavilion will include information on its popular Web site and other services to the public.

The areas between the reflecting pool and 4th Street on the National Mall will house tents for food vendors, musical performances, book signings and sales, as well as a“Pavilion of States,” which will highlight state reading programs and local libraries. The nearby“Let’s Read America” Pavilion I will provide practical information on the reading and literacy promotion activities of some 60 national organizations.

In the “Let’s Read America” Pavilion II, Scholastic Inc., in partnership with Reading Is Fundamental™ (RIF), will display“The Biggest Children’s Book in the World,” a giant-size 8-by-6-foot, 650-pound book that will include drawings and a compilation of 3,000 student essays from children across the nation inspired by the theme“My Dream For A Better World.”

Also in the“Let’s Read America” Pavilion II, PBS will celebrate the launch of the“PBS KIDS Share a Story” campaign to inspire millions of adults to build the language and literacy skills of children through reading, storytelling and singing. Special hands-on family activities will include getting pictures taken with a PBS KIDS character, creating and illustrating your own book, acting out favorite fairy tales (complete with costumes), and talking to a children’s book illustrator about his work. The LeapFrog SchoolHouse, an interactive exploratorium, will feature innovative technology-based educational programs. To celebrate its reading initiative “Ready. Sit. Read!,” Target will offer the “Big Red Chair,” which measures almost 5 feet wide. This larger-than-life symbol of the pleasure of reading will be available for photo opportunities and a bird’s-eye view of activities in the“Let’s Read America” Pavilion II.

Throughout the day, favorite children’s characters, including Caillou, crime-biters McGruff and Scruff, the lions from “Between the Lions,” Timothy the Racoon, and Ord from“Dragon Tales” will make appearances. There also will be an opportunity for children to have their pictures taken with Elmo, Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and other characters.

Near the pavilions on the National Mall will be the StoryTraveler Puppet Theater. Presentations will run throughout the day along with the distribution of free, age-appropriate books to children.

About the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, has been sustained for more than 200 years by Congress and serves all Americans in a variety of ways. It is the research arm of Congress through the Congressional Research Service and the Law Library; the protector of creativity through the Copyright Office; an unparalleled collector of more than 124 million items, including 28 million books and other print materials, millions of prints, photographs, films, maps, recordings, broadcasts, and manuscripts. It promotes reading through its Center for the Book and Children’s Literature Center. The Library creates catalog records for libraries worldwide and serves as a library for people with disabilities nationwide. The Library of Congress has become an international digital library on the Internet, serving the world at www.loc.gov.

For more information about the National Book Festival, call toll-free (888) 714-4696 or visit the festival’s Web site at www.loc.gov/bookfest.


PR 02-139
ISSN 0731-3527