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50 Reasons to Volunteer at the Library of Congress National Book Festival

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The following is a guest post by Faye Levin, Volunteer Coordinator for the Library of Congress National and Book Festival and Rebecca Naimon, National and International Outreach Intern.

Each year, the Library of Congress National Book Festival relies, in part, on the wisdom and dedication of an incredible cadre of volunteers. For this year’s Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2, we have already attracted a most talented team. Amazed by the outpouring of volunteers, we asked alumni and first-time volunteers to share their top reasons for volunteering. The responses were thoughtful and personal and funny and warm, just like our volunteers, so we thought we would share the first fifty reasons. If you would like to join this amazing group, registration information follows our list.

  1. So I can take pride in having helped put on the greatest annual cultural event in D.C.
  2. My top reason for volunteering is seeing the excited look on visitors’ face when they realize their favorite author is signing multiple books.
  3. I’m volunteering this year because I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at last year’s festival!
  4. Recently moved here from Montana; books and new faces is a win-win!
  5. I volunteer to promote literacy in the citizens and others of the USA.
  6. I love to read and books have always been an important part of my life.
  7. Volunteering for this stellar cultural event is downright gratifying!
  8. The state displays [in the Pavilion of the States] give me a sense of the vastness and diversity of our country
  9. To share the history, legacy, and diversity of the Library of Congress.
  10. To make sure I don’t let another year go by without sampling this book lovers’ dream of a gathering, I signed up to be a volunteer.
  11. Selfies with Dr. Hayden, and the free shirt!!!
  12. One of D.C.’s best annual events!
  13. It’s nice to see so many people in our city that are interested in reading thoughts, experiences and ideas in formats using more than 140 characters
  14. To have the satisfaction of getting people of all ages to have an appreciation of the written word.
  15. Because I cannot fest without books!
  16. To be audacious and dream that I, an emerging writer of color, will one day grace the stage to discuss my forthcoming YA novel
  17. To make it possible for other people to love books as much as I do!
  18. I want to support the amazing things that libraries do!
  19. To be a part of the largest library in the world.
  20. I’ve missed only one festival in 17—or is it 16?—years, and that was when I was recovering from surgery. It keeps me feeling young and bossy.
  21. Volunteering for the Library of Congress brings joy to my soul, as it is my favorite place in D.C.!
  22. How can anyone with a broad imagination *NOT* volunteer for this book fest?
  23. What can be greater or even more virtuous than volunteering at the Library of Congress—and that’s no slouch library!—National Book Festival?
  24. To share my love of literature & supporting others’ love as well!
  25. It’s an honor to feel the enthusiastic energy from attendees for the written word!
  26. The National Book Festival is a feel-good event devoted to books and learning—I love helping to make a happy day for everyone!
  27. Being a lover of books, that’s the best place to be. It is a very lively interesting event and I meet the authors whose books I love.
  28. As a former Library of Congress employee, I appreciate and embrace celebrating the joy of reading!
  29. Love words? Love books? Love being surrounded by 100,000 like-minded people? That’s why I volunteer at the Library of Congress National Book Festival!
  30. I love being a part of the NBF to watch the excitement for reading in the young and young at heart.
  31. The cute t-shirts I’ve been collecting over the years!
  32. Because I get to share what I love with people who enjoy books and authors as much as I do.
  33. The NBF is a wonderful event. I want to help make it a continued success.
  34. I love to be around creative people—they can be scholarly, eccentric, unusual, and a lot of fun
  35. It’s fun to see the people who wander in confused!
  36. I love being in the company of other reading enthusiasts!
  37. To ask Diana Gabaldon when the next Outlander book will be out
  38. To be surrounded by books and interesting people, what’s not to love?!
  39. For years now I’ve been referring to the National Book Festival as the National Cool Festival, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
  40. I want to volunteer at the National Book Festival because I want the opportunity to celebrate books, celebrate reading, and give others the chance to partake in that also.
  41. The Library of Congress, for all its beauty and history, represents the proverbial cornerstone of information which is available to everyone.
  42. To promote learning and creativity to society
  43. It’s a big celebration of books and reading, and as a librarian, I want to help with it
  44. I love books, and I love interacting with people who love books!
  45. I get to boss people around…I mean, I get to help people have a great experience at the National Book Festival!
  46. The National Book Festival is a meeting of good friends whose names I do not know, but they like reading just like me.
  47. I volunteer so I can listen to the authors speak—hearing them in person is an amazing opportunity!
  48. Here is my chance to help out and be a part of this marvelous and stimulating, not to mention fun event!
  49. Because my faith in civilization is renewed!
  50. For the feeling of great satisfaction in serving my community.


Interested in joining us? Click here to fill out the Google Submission Form.

NOTE: Volunteers must commit to at least one 4 ½ hour shift, and attend a mandatory briefing session at the Library of Congress.

Volunteers employed by the Library of Congress or docents should plan to attend one (1) of the following two (2) briefing sessions:

  • Tuesday, August 29, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room or
  • Wednesday, August 30, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room

Volunteers NOT employed by the Library of Congress should plan to attend one (1) of the following three (3) briefing sessions:

  • Tuesday, August 29, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Montpelier Room or
  • Thursday, August 31, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room or
  • Friday, September 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Mumford Room

Both the Montpelier and the Mumford Rooms are located on the 6th floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, which is at 101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington D.C. The entrance to the building is on Independence Avenue between First Street and Second Street SE.

If you have any questions, contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Faye Levin, by email at flev[at]loc[dot]gov

Comments (3)

  1. When is the registration deadline? Can you add it here, and on the form? Thanks!

    • Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Library of Congress National Book Festival! We are thrilled with the incredibly fast and robust response to our call for volunteers. We are now at capacity, however, and have closed registration.

      As folks inevitably “drop out,” we may turn to our wait list; if you wish to be included on that list, please click here and complete the form. It will also ensure that you receive an early “invite” next year.

      In any event, we hope you will visit the Festival as it promises to be a most remarkable day.

  2. I’d like to volunteer for the LoC National Book Festival, but I am only free for the earliest shift for September 1. Let me know if you still need volunteers for that time slot, and I will attend one of the training sessions. Thank you.

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