The Library of Congress National Book Festival – Sept. 21 & 22, 2013

The Library’s estimate for attendance this year was about 200,000 people

The Library’s estimate for attendance this year was about 200,000 people

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is one of the legacies of First Lady Laura Bush. A former librarian and public school teacher, Mrs. Bush made reading initiatives for children a top priority of the Bush administration and held literary symposia and author-related events throughout her time in office. The National Book Festival is perhaps the best known of her many initiatives to promote books and reading.

First Lady Laura Bush greets festival-goers in 2001 (Library of Congress Information Bulletin, October 2001)

First Lady Laura Bush greets festival-goers in 2001 (Library of Congress Information Bulletin, October 2001)

Mrs. Bush launched her first book festival in 1996 as first lady of Texas. The Texas Book Festival was so successful that when her husband, George W. Bush, became president, she decided to use her platform as U.S. first lady to introduce the book festival tradition to the entire nation. With the Library of Congress as partner, the first National Book Festival took place on September 8, 2001. The Library estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 people attended it.

Mary Jordan of the Washington Post interviewed Linda Ronstadt about her memoir and asked about touring in the freewheeling ‘60s and ‘70s. ‘My addiction has always been reading,’ said Ronstadt.

Festival-goers wait for a book signing by Linda Ronstadt. Mary Jordan of the Washington Post interviewed Ronstadt about her memoir and asked about touring in the freewheeling ‘60s and ‘70s. ‘My addiction has always been reading,’ said Ronstadt.

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is a free event that takes place on the National Mall each year on a weekend in early autumn. This year’s festival was held on September 21st and 22nd. Participants had the opportunity to listen to in-depth interviews with authors like Linda Ronstadt, Lynda Barry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Khaled Hosseini and others. A tent was on premises where festival-goers could buy books to have them signed.

-Lisa Moscatiello, Research Assistant