Library in the News: September Edition

With the announcement of the new Library website, (you can read more about it here and here), media outlets in September were all over the story.

The Washington Post’s Ideas & Innovations column called the site’s design a “boon” for mobile users, allowing those pages to expand or contract based on screen size.

Other high profile outlets running the story included The New York Times, Roll Call, The Hill, Politico, Associated Press, Bloomberg Business Week, UPI and The Washington Times.

On the heels of such a big announcement came one of the Library’s premier events, the National Book Festival, on Sept. 22-23. Coverage of the festival was popular on Twitter, capturing the most buzz: 84% of online volume throughout the weekend (12,614 total tweets). Facebook was the second most popular channel with 6% of online volume (850 total posts). Almost 400 news stories (print, online, radio and television) ran about the festival.

“Thousands of book lovers from around the region flocked to the Mall on Saturday for the National Book Festival, where readers who reveled in books long before they had e’s in front of them mingled happily with those who have come to love the convenience of having an entire electronic library in the palm of one’s hand,” said Washington Post reporter Lori Aratani in describing the scene.

“The future of book publishing may hang in the balance, but the need to cultivate young readers who can become the critical thinkers and book buyers of tomorrow remains constant,” wrote Jamshid Ghazi Askar for the Deseret News. “In that context, then, the kid-friendly National Book Festival occupies a unique place in the public square – different in size but similar in purpose to the thousands of school book fairs and the youth-literacy outreach efforts that take place all over the country every year.”

Children’s author Jeff Kinney of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books fame told USA Today, “Parents have clearly done their job with the kids here. Reading is fun!”

In other news, Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway’s first reading at the Library on Sept. 13 inspired another round of stories and interviews with various media.

“If last night’s event at the Library of Congress is anything to go by, Natasha Trethewey’s tenure as U.S. Poet Laureate is going to be extremely popular,” wrote Washingtonian reporter Sophie Gilbert, touting the overflow audience at the event. “As she read from different poems, briefly explaining where they came from, the audience listened intently, audibly murmuring at some points when a line was particularly resonant.”

Speaking to Jeffrey Brown of PBS NewsHour, Trethewey said of her new title, “I’m hoping that my youth, relatively speaking, means I’m also energetic and can bring a lot of service to the role, rather than simply ceremonial or honorific as it certainly is.”

Debbie Siegelbaum of The Hill talked to Trethewey about her new accomplishment. “I have to tell you that when I won the Pulitzer Prize years ago, at the ceremony they said to us, ‘Now you know the first line of your obituary.’ And when I went to the Library of Congress after the call from Dr. Billington, they said to me, ‘Now you know the line that will replace that line,’” said the poet laureate.

“Her poetry is by no means stylistically consistent or even recognizable as hers except by its subjects,” said Gary Tischler of The Georgetowner. “It has the strange quality of being powerful, deceptively and often simple in its use of words and language, diverse in the method and sytle.”

And, a last little tidbit: According to the Washington Post Express in its “Explore DC” feature, the Library of Congress is “where you’ll feel guilty for not being smarter” thanks to its décor “glorifying all things knowledge-related.”

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