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Calling All Book Lovers


In my 15 years working at the Library of Congress – my previous stop before AARP – one particular date stands out: Sept. 8, 2001. That was the day of the inaugural Library of Congress National Book Festival.

First Lady Laura Bush, herself a former librarian, proposed that we at the Library of Congress organize a literary gathering in Washington, D.C., where authors and readers could connect. The first National Book Festival, similar to the Texas Book Festival that Mrs. Bush had founded earlier, was a stunning success and, as an avid reader, I am honored to have helped create it.

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I’m also proud that AARP has been a frequent supporter of the national festival as well as a charter sponsor of the 15th annual festival scheduled for Sept. 5. We expect more than 175 bestselling authors, poets and illustrators. They include writers like David Baldacci, David McCullough, Louise Erdrich, Jane Smiley, Al Roker, Tom Brokaw, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo, Walter Mosley and Sarah MacLean. There will be book signings, author talks, panel discussions as well as activities for children. A number of celebrated writers from Latin America will be featured.

Please join us and make it a point to visit the AARP Pavilion, where I will read the recently discovered Dr. Seuss book What Pet Should I Get at 2:30. There, you can also:

  • Hear volunteers from our AARP Experience Corps read stories to children, highlighting our commitment to fostering literacy in the young.
  • Find out from the experts of AARP TEK (Technology, Education, Knowledge) how to get the most from your gadgets.
  • Learn about the titles produced by AARP Books.

This year marks another anniversary. Two hundred years ago, the Library of Congress acquired Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. To honor him, the festival’s theme this year will be Jefferson's quote, "I cannot live without books."

My feelings exactly!

The 15th Annual Library of Congress Book Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place, N.W. The event is free and open to the public.

Jo Ann Jenkins is the chief executive officer of AARP. Follow her on Twitter @JoAnn_Jenkins.





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