September 23, 2012 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival Celebrates the Books that Shaped America

12th Annual Festival Offers More Than 125 Award­-winning Authors

Contact: Jennifer Gavin (202) 707-1940

Book-lovers from across the country gathered on the National Mall this weekend to celebrate reading and literacy at the 2012 National Book Festival. Organized by the Library of Congress, with Honorary Co-Chairs President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, the event featured presentations and book-signings by more than 125 bestselling authors, illustrators and poets. The two-day festival, now in its twelfth year, featured such authors as Mario Vargas Llosa, Bob Woodward, Michael Connelly, Walter Isaacson, T.C. Boyle, Robert Caro, R.L. Stine, Jeff Kinney, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Bram, Patricia Cornwell and Jewel (visit for a complete list of participating authors).

"The Library of Congress National Book Festival once again has given book-lovers of all ages the chance to meet, interact with and be inspired by their favorite authors – more authors than at any time in its history,” said the Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington. “It all happens thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, such as David M. Rubenstein IMLS, Target, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo – and the more than 1,200 volunteers who give their time to make this event possible.”

The festival was part of larger Library of Congress “Celebration of the Book” in 2012 and 2013. The celebration encompasses several events and the “Books that Shaped America” exhibition, which opened in June in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and corresponds with the 2012 festival theme.

In addition to author appearances and presentations across eight pavilions—including Children, Teens & Children, Contemporary Life, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Sci Fi/Fantasy/Graphic Novels and one devoted to Special Presentations—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 and discussed the books that shaped them as writers. For those who were unable to attend the festival or missed a pavilion, author presentation webcasts will be available at and on the Library’s YouTube channel.

2012 festival highlights included:

  • Awards to the winners of the “Books That Shaped Me” essay contest for DC-area fifth- and sixth-graders, cosponsored by the Library and the DC Public Library;
  • The Sci Fi/Fantasy/Graphic Novels and Special Presentations pavilions. Dedicated fans and new discoverers alike gathered for these Sunday-only pavilions, now in their second year.
  • The Library of Congress pavilion. The Library of Congress pavilion offered a behind-the-scenes look at the many ways the Library of Congress brings its extraordinary resources to people everywhere, with dozens of gallery talks and presentations Saturday and Sunday. Visitors discovered the secrets of digital preservation and gave their suggestions to add to the list of Books that Shaped America.
  • The Pavilion of the States. Librarians representing all 50 states and American Territories came together in this Saturday-only pavilion with informational tables allowing visitors to learn more about books from their home state or other states around the country. Brought to the festival by each state’s Center for the Book, the Pavilion of States proved yet again that every state has a unique story to tell.
  • The Family Storytelling Stage. Presented by Target, this second-year pavilion offered presentations by more than 20 authors and musicians whose books and performances are devoted to the next generation of avid readers. The sponsorship is part of Target’s commitment to ensuring more children read proficiently by the end of the third grade.
  • The Digital Bookmobile. This high-tech exhibition powered by OverDrive, which supports reading and literacy in communities nationwide with eBooks from libraries, for the fourth year in a row enabled visitors to browse a public library’s website, sample popular eBooks, audiobooks, music and video titles, see the Books that Shaped America collection, and learn how to download and try out supported mobile devices.
  • The PBS KIDS pavilion. Inside this pavilion, children joined Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Cat in the Hat, Curious George, Arthur and many more of their favorite PBS KIDS characters for sing-alongs, story time and pictures. Kids immersed themselves in skill-building activities while educators learned all about PDS KIDS teacher resources.
  • Let’s Read America pavilion. Children let their imaginations and love of reading run wild in the Let’s Read America pavilion, where many event sponsors prepared a variety of family-friendly activities sure to delight the book-lover in everyone:
    • Festival-Goers celebrated Clifford the Big Red Dog’s 50th birthday in Scholastic’s Clifford’s Birthday Corner;
    • Story time was re-imagined in the LEGO DUPLO Read & Build Area while children enjoyed a variety of guided building activities;
    • Dipper, the AT&T Cares star, celebrated AT&T’s 12th year as a Library of Congress partner with commemorative souvenirs.
    Wells Fargo rolled its iconic stagecoach onto the Mall for photo opportunities, while patrons listened to Wells Fargo historians describe a collection of stagecoach-related artifacts that were on display; and
  • Washington Post reporters and editors introduced several author presentations and offered special festival-themed editions of Book World.

The 2012 National Book Festival was made possible through the generous support of National Book Festival Board Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein; Charter Sponsors Target, The Washington Post, Wells Fargo and the Institute of Museum and Library Services; Patrons AT&T, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS; Contributors Barnes & Noble; LEGO Systems Inc., Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive, and Scholastic Inc.; Friends Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to C-SPAN2’s Book TV, the Junior League of Washington and The Links Inc.

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 and at its National Book Festival website at


PR 12-180
ISSN 0731-3527