March 17, 2018

National Book Festival Is a Success–Thanks to State Efforts

By Lynn Blumenstein

Close to 50,000 people turned out on October 12 for the second National Book
Festival on the grounds of the U.S Capitol. The event, hosted by First Lady
Laura Bush, featured Russia’s First Lady Liudmilla Putin as the guest of honor.
There were various pavilions highlighting children and young adults books,
mysteries and thrillers, and storytelling themes, as well as authors,
storytellers, reading advocates, librarians, musicians, and children’s book
characters who participated in the free event, sponsored by the Library of

Prior to the national festival, 22 state affiliates of the Center for the
Book in the Library of Congress hosted programs to promote the event. In
Connecticut, the Festival of Caribbean Literature (Sept. 20-21) at the Hartford
Public Library featured authors reading from their works. Storytellers,
filmmakers, craftspeople, and artists, supported by Connecticut’s publishers and
booksellers, attracted participants from the state’s large Caribbean community.
Minnesota created a bookstore-based People’s Choice award to honor state
residents’ favorite authors. Georgia held an event called “On the Writer’s
Bookshelf,” a celebration of the state’s writers and the books that inspired
them. Florida reading advocates surveyed National Book Festival authors, asking
the question, “What book made the biggest difference in your life and what
difference did it make?” Their answers and photos will be posted on the Florida
Center for the Book’s Web site.