Wired into the National Book Festival, Wirelessly

switchboardJennifer posted earlier today about Saturday’s National Book Festival, but I had to get in my two cents.

The NBF is special to me for more than one reason.  First, it’s something on which a huge team of talented folks including me work intensively for about five or six months every year.  It’s hard to describe the thrill of watching this labor of love be enjoyed by more than 120,000 people. I walk the grounds watching author presentations, working with the media, and listening for comments people make about the great time they’re having.  But my anniversary of coming to work at the Library coincides with the Book Festival, so it’s an extra-special celebration for me.  (Three years and counting.)

But enough about me.

One popular attraction has been a huge vinyl wall in the Library of Congress Pavilion on which people could write about their favorite books or authors.  This year, though, we’re going high-tech.  We want to encourage everyone who’s “tweeting” as they walk the grounds to use the hashtag #nbf.  Your tweets and everyone else’s (including yours truly) will be featured in the LOC Pavilion (link is a PDF map) on a large monitor displaying those messages in real time.  So send your Twitpics, your author encounters, your 12-second videos or any other thoughts to share them with your fellow book-lovers.

This week also marked another first for us, an additional nod to those who access the web by means other than a computer: We launched a version of the National Book Festival website that is optimized for mobile devices (AKA a “Wireless Application Protocol,” or WAP site.)  We think this will be especially helpful on Festival day itself.  When you visit http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/ from your mobile device of choice, the site automatically adjusts to a simple and less bandwidth-intense version.  You can still get all the author presentation and book-signing schedules, maps, directions, and other important information.

And as previously mentioned, you can get up-to-date information by text message by sending the word BOOK to 61399.  (Standard messaging rates may apply.)  You will be able to find out how to get specific information, such as pavilion schedules and schedules for individual authors.

7 Comments

  1. Neil
    September 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Great mobile site!

    One thing I’d love to see (on both the standard and mobile sites) is a PDF of the grid form of the schedule that appears in the program every year. It’s the only way to compare the author schedules across all the pavilions and the signing area, and it’s absolutely the best tool for those of us that want to pre-plan our visits to the festival.

    Since you put it together for the program, why not make it available online as well?

    Thanks!

  2. Jonathan
    September 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    This is an excellent use of social media for LoC. Good job!

    Will there be a wireless network available at the Festival, accessible by the public?

  3. Justin Thorp
    September 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Matt, looking forward to going to the Bookfest on Saturday. :-D

  4. Amy Thomas
    September 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Wow. Can’t wait to see that wall!

  5. chiben10
    September 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Will there be a wireless network available at the Festival, accessible by the public?

  6. Carps
    September 28, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Wow – I always had the British Library pegged as the most progressive library out there, but my national pride has been slightly dented. Great innovations and I hope America is right proud of you.

  7. John Sayers
    January 20, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Thanks for your comment, but we are unable to post comments to the blog that include links to sites unrelated to the subject. You may feel free to repost your comment without the link.

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