National Book Festival 2008

According to the Press Release from the Library of Congress there were more than 120,000 people in attendance at the 8th National Book Festival this past Saturday. For the 7th year in a row I was among them. State Librarian Micheal York (pictured at left speaking to a young visitor), NHSL Reference Librarian Charles Shipman and I spent the day stamping the festival maps of thousands of children and handing out materials about New Hampshire in the Pavillion of the States with the tireless assistance of volunteers from the Junior League of Washington. On the back of the festival map (pictured at right) each state's Center for the Book recommends a book for young readers. This year we recommended Women of Granite by the Write Sisters and distributed a matching puzzle (pictured above right) based on the women in the book. Six out of the seven authors, and the illustrator of Women of Granite were in attendance at the Festival and paid a visit to our table. (pictured below are -- from left -- Kathleen Deady, Diane Mayr, Janet Buell, and Barbara Turner; Charles Shipman is in the background). We were each able to attend a couple of the author programs going on at the festival (if we were willing to brave the periodic downpours on this soggy, humid day) and there were some excellent ones. I went to hear Kay Ryan, who was recently appointed as the Library of Congress’s 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2009. Her reading was followed by an interview in which she talked about her work, her life, and her plans as Poet Laureate. She suggested (to thunderous applause) that promoting funding for branch libriaries might be a suitable project for her term as laureate. The Library of Congress will be posting webcasts of the author presentations on the Festival site. I encourage you to watch Kay Ryan's presentation, it was excellent! Podcasts of interviews, recorded with Festival authors a few weeks ago, are already available.

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