National Book Festival to be a Two-Day Treat

Word’s going out today that the National Book Festival, heading into its 11th year on the National Mall, will be a two-day event for 2011.

The festival will take place on the National Mall, from 9th Street to 14th Street, on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.. rain or shine.  Watch our website at for more developments.

For a decade, the excitement has been crammed into a single late-morning-to-late-afternoon window, with more than 70 authors speaking about their works and signing books for fans in massive pavilions that shelter attendees from the sun and rain.

This year, plans are for author sessions to be several minutes longer, to allow for more Q & A from festival-goers, and for more time to be allotted between sessions so authors and fans alike will have a better opportunity to navigate the grounds.  The added day will let us plan for at least 90 authors over the entire weekend.

Parents can also bring their kids to mingle with characters familiar from TV and sample many child-friendly reading and literacy programs, and families can enjoy the ever-popular Pavilion of the States, where representatives of Centers for the Book in the nation’s states and territories offer a fun take on reading and writing across America.

“Fans of the National Book Festival have urged us to make it a weekend-long event for many years,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

He notes that in 2010 – at the 10th anniversary National Book Festival – attendance over the history of the festivals topped 1 million.

“We look forward to welcoming millions more festival-goers of all ages for many years to come,” he said.

Your faithful blogger – who also serves as project manager for the National Book Festival – can attest that the National Book Festival Board, co-chaired by Dr. Billington and amazingly generous donor David M. Rubenstein, and the Library of Congress team that organizes the festival each year are seriously jazzed about taking this wonderful event to the next level!


  1. Grilli
    February 8, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Hello and good morning everyone! Thanks for sending the announcement and I am thrilled I will attend once more! Last year was my first year experience and I absolutely loved it! The authors lectures were superb and in between lectures, signings and funnel cake, it was a delightful day. Organizers, you took the words out of my mouth when extending the event to two whole days and I can’t wait to relish the experience once again and this time, there would be more time, more authors and hopefully more fun! My husband and I we are both book lovers and we’re drooling with anticipation and because it would be spread in two whole days, we will be able to gat more books signed. Thank you so kindly for the organizers and for the generosity of the sponsors! Kudos and success for you all!

  2. Carolyn Campbell
    February 8, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I love books, but not at the cost of an important worldwide student solar decathlon that was scheduled on the Mall before the Library of Congress event, but was moved last month with no alternate site announced. Seems that there might have been, at the very least, a scheduling snafu somewhere. Can’t there be room on the Mall for both events without doing irreparable financial harm to the Solar Decathlon 2011 entrants who have invested millions to come to the Mall. What’s going on D.C.?

  3. Carol B
    February 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    This is the best news ever for a dreary February. The National Book Festival is a big family get together for us.I have been attending for 9 years and have talked about how wonderful it is to family and friends.Now a group of us attend. We combine our love of books with a family reunion. We love hearing from the authors we are familiar with and learning about new authors.There are activities for the entire family. Everyone involved in making the festival a reality each fall deserves high praise. See you Sept 24 & 25.

  4. George Barantseff
    February 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    How is the hawk doing? Or has it found its way back out into the freedom of the great outdoors?

  5. klawrence
    February 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    How does it feel to be responsible for displacing the Solar Decathlon? Terrible!

  6. Jennifer Gavin
    February 9, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Please be aware that the National Book Festival did not “displace” the Solar Decathlon. The Park Service’s decision regarding the Energy Department’s permit was arrived at without input from us, which is appropriate. We hope the Decathlon is able to be relocated without too much inconvenience to the participants.

  7. Bill O’Bryan
    February 9, 2011 at 10:18 am

    To my recollection, the Library has been on the Mall during that particular weekend for many years now. I’m not sure how that “displaces” anybody.

  8. Carol
    February 11, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Will this still clash with the Baltimore book festival, usually held on the same weekend?

  9. Jennifer Gavin
    February 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Well, we’ve been on the same weekend with the Baltimore festival for some years now, and so far both events are going strong — it’s a tribute to how much people love books. I know of at least one group last year that spent several hours at the National Book Festival and then headed up to Baltimore to sample those wares.

  10. Constance Carter
    March 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    The Solar Decathlon 2011 will be held at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park, on the banks of the Potomca River along the path between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Please see According to DOE Secretay Chu, “Keeping the competition on the National Mall property allows the students to proceed with their existing home desings, specifically tailored for Washington’s latitude, temperature, and humidity conditions. The West Potomac site is in close proximity to a number of attractions and will provide an ideal stage to highlight clean energy solutions for thousands of public visitors.”

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.