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Paying it Forward: Sponsors Make the Festival Possible

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The following is a guest post by Thomas M. Shaw Jr., operations assistant in the Development Office.

The National Book Festival is a wonderful event that attracts both a faithful and ever-growing audience to the nation’s capital every year. The festival is an opportunity for fans to connect with beloved authors at book signings, to hear readings and commentary on works and to get answers to the questions they’ve always wondered about. All of this, plus family friendly activities, unique entertainment and special giveaways make for a captivating experience, thanks to our community of book loving sponsors.

The National Book Festival – from its comfortable Convention Center venue and videotaping of presentations for our website, to the American Sign Language interpretation and free commemorative poster – would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors who share our commitment to reading and literacy. Sponsors, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein, fund this literary extravaganza.

Aziz and Naseem Jan, festival regulars from Pakistan, enjoy a Scholastic craft table with their daughters during the 2015 National Book Festival. Photo by Shawn Miller.
Aziz and Naseem Jan, festival regulars from Pakistan, enjoy a Scholastic craft table with their daughters during the 2015 National Book Festival. Photo by Shawn Miller.

All of our benefactors help make the festival an unforgettable experience for our fans, and the contributions of our Charter sponsors stand out among the crowd.

  • AARP first supported the festival in 2003. This year the Fiction stages are sponsored by AARP, where festival goers can expect to hear talks from some of their favorite story tellers. They will also feature literacy-focused programs for people of all ages in an exciting and interactive space on the Expo floor filled with surprises.
  • In 2011 Wells Fargo began sponsoring the History & Biography stage – a perfect match for a company whose heritage is part of their identity today. Here many history buffs and novices alike find their seat and settle in for the day. Wells Fargo also rolls their iconic replica of the 1852 Concord stagecoach into the Convention Center for festivalgoers to climb aboard and take photos. There are also activities and readings throughout the day, paired with book giveaways as well as the legendary Wells Fargo stuffed ponies.

Two Charter sponsors have supported the festival since its inception in 2001.

  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grew its support and has been a Charter sponsor since 2012. IMLS is the lead sponsor of the Pavilion of the States – a unique festival experience that connects library and reading organizations from across the United States and its territories with our book loving festival goers. Visiting this pavilion is especially popular with kids – many of whom stamp their passports at every stop and collect a prize.
  • The Washington Post, a Charter sponsor since 2001, promotes the event every year and publishes a special edition of Book World that serves as an insider’s guide for attendees. The Post also has activities for families and their journalists and editors introduce and interview authors and emcee the Books to Movies and Graphic Novels evening programming.

Other supporters have been with the festival from the beginning—the James Madison Council, the Library’s lead donor group, is sponsoring the Science stage, where audiences will hear from some of the brightest minds today in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math; the National Endowment for the Arts is sponsoring the Poetry & Prose stage which provides an opportunity for visitors to hear from some of our country’s finest writers and poets; and C-SPAN2’s Book TV will be live from this year’s festival covering author presentations and author call-in segments from the Book TV set. The network will also provide its ever-popular festival bag.

Join us in thanking all of our festival sponsors and please consider making your own gift today.