A.B. Please explain to SLJ blog readers just what it takes to "pull off" an event like the National Book Festival.
C.S. "The National Book Festival, now in its sixth year, has become virtually a non-stop, year-long initiative for the Library of Congress. The pace slows slightly each fall after the Festival occurs, but shortly after the first of the new year, Library staff increase their efforts in fund-raising and planning for the next festival. One interesting fact is that the reservation for the use of the National Mall must be in place one year in advance. There is a core National Book Festival team to lead the effort, but there are at least one hundred staff members across the Library's organization (fund-raising, public relations, congressional relations, contracting, event planning, eduational outreach, technology) actively involved in the planning and execution of the festival. The day of the festival many Library staff play volunteer roles, directing festival participants, hosting programs in the festival pavilions, escorting authors and storytellers and the Junior League commits over 300 volunteers to a wide variety of support roles. "
"Charles V. Stanhope currently serves as acting Director of Communications for the Library of Congress."
A.B. What are some of your goals for this one day Festival? What do you hope to accomplish?
C.S. "The Library conducts the National Book Festival to celebrate its commitment to books, reading and literacy, to demonstrate its leadership as the nation's library and to deepen understanding about the Library's many programs and initiatives."
A.B. The need to increase literacy is making headlines daily. How has the Library Team been reaching out to the people who can benefit from this event?
C.S. "Hundreds of organizations in the literacy and reading fields partner with the Library's Center for the Book and fill the festival's Pavilion of the States to overflowing. Representatives from all the 50 states and territories participate to distribute information to educate festival participants about the wide array of reading and literacy programs available where you live. In the Library's own pavilion at the festival, we demonstrate the high-quality free educational content we are mounting on our website (www.loc.gov) from our unique collections. Many teachers and students are enriching their curriculum by using this digital content in classrooms. As a partner with the Ad Council, the Library has launched a nation-wide public service campaign, Lifelong Literacy, and we have gathered in a specially-designed page a vast array of reading and literacy resources."
A.B. How will this year's National Book Festival be different from past years?
C.S. "This year, for the first time, we have already launched podcasts of National Book Festival authors to whet readers' interests and "appetites" to see and hear their favorite authors and characters. We are happy that CSPAN will once again be broadcasting live from the History and Biography pavilion, and we hope that there may be live radio coverage from the festival this year."
A.B. What should visitors be "on the look out for" MOST at the National Mall on September 30th?
C.S. "National Book Festival participants should look for more people than ever on the Mall on September 30; last year we estimated over 100,000 joined us and we expect even more as the festival has grown to be an annual event in the Nation's Capitol."