The Junior League of Washington (JLW) is an organization of women dedicated to improving the community through trained volunteer service. JLW focuses its volunteer resources on improving literacy in and around Washington, DC. Since 2003, JLW has provided hundreds of trained volunteers each year to support the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Over its 15 years of support for the festival, JLW volunteers will have provided more than 40,000 volunteer hours, worth over $1.2 million, to ensure that book lovers have a great time at the National Book Festival.
The following post is a Q&A with Junior League of Washington members Aileen Marquez and Tessa Wilkin about why JLW volunteers love coming back to the National Book Festival year after year.
It’s the Junior League of Washington’s 15th year volunteering for the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Why do you think JLW volunteers look forward to this event?
Aileen: “This is the first volunteer experience for most new JLW members, so it’s an opportunity to meet other Junior League volunteers. It’s also awesome to see how excited visitors are to share their love of literacy.”
Tessa: “We love the National Book Festival because it brings hundreds of us from all across the organization together on one day to support a cause close to our collective heart, literacy. It’s also the first opportunity our newest members have to volunteer as a member of the JLW. The energy and excitement from that first experience creates a love for the festival that carries on into the future. NBF is like a JLW family reunion.”
How many years have you been involved in the festival, and what keeps you coming back?
Aileen: “This is my second-year volunteering. I loved my time last year. Because it’s an experience that so many of us share, it’s a great way to connect with other Junior League members.”
Tessa: “This will be my 10th year volunteering at the NBF. What keeps me coming back each year are the opportunities to interact with the authors, the book-loving public, and my fellow JLW volunteers. One day I’ll make the switch from festival volunteer to festival attendee but that won’t be any time soon!”
What is your favorite thing about the festival?
Aileen: “I love the Pavilion of States—it’s a great way to learn more about different states and their local authors.”
Tessa: “I love being around so many fellow bibliophiles, helping to make the festival a success for its authors and attendees, and walking away with great book-inspired memories. A favorite memory (besides the wedding proposal in the book-signing lines in 2012!) is when I saw the long lines of people who wanted to meet the author of a beloved book series I read in my childhood. I hadn’t met anyone else in my life who had read the books so seeing 20 years later that I wasn’t alone in my love, and that the author’s fans covered so many generations, filled my heart with so much joy.”
The 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 1. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.