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Make the Most of Your Day

Animation featuring imagery from the 2018 National Book Festival

Getting ready to attend the 2018 National Book Festival here in D.C.? Here are some tips to make it easier for you to get here and enjoy your day:

Download the App. There’s a version of the National Book Festival App for all smartphones, and you’ll find it to be a great way to plan your day. Use the tools to make a personal schedule from the hundreds of activities available. Also, we’ll use the app to push late-breaking details and program changes, so it will be your most valuable tool. (And remember, the complete festival schedule is also available on our website.)

Plan Your Travel. The Washington Convention Center is pretty accessible between 7th and 9th Streets and N Street and Mt. Vernon Place in downtown D.C., but there’s always a lot going on in our Nation’s Capital, and Sept. 1 is no exception. Here’s information from the Convention Center on parking and access.

Use Metro. If you plan to use Metro, the area’s subway, keep in mind that the system is undergoing extensive maintenance these days, which is likely to result in delays and station closings. Metro lists potential maintenance delays at its website. If you’re going to use one of the affected lines, give yourself some extra time coming in.

Help Us Keep You Safe. Once you get here, you’ll go through safety-screening protocols that are designed to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable festival. You can enter using three entrances that will be open to the center (see the map), and your bags will be checked. There will be a few restrictions that you’ll need to keep in mind, but once you’re cleared, you’ll be able travel freely inside the center and enjoy your day.

Once In, Stay In. After you’ve passed through screening, you can move freely throughout the Convention Center. However, you can’t go outside (for lunch, etc.) without having to go through screening again to re-enter. In order to move between the buildings, you may need to go up or down a level via the building connectors in order to avoid the screening lines.

Volunteers greet visitors at the 2016 National Book Festival. Photo by Ralph Small

Travel Light and Wear Comfortable Shoes. The map doesn’t do justice to the HUGENESS of the Washington Convention Center. It’s a massive place. Two big city blocks, wide hallways, multiple levels. There are escalators, but you’ll still need to prepare for long walks throughout the festival.

Think Globally, Eat Locally. Getting hungry during the day? You may want to hit the many concession spots available within the Convention Center. In addition, there are dozens of great dining venues close by if you head south outside the center. Just remember, if you leave the Convention Center, you’ll need to go back through screening upon your return.

Cluster Your Activities. The stages are grouped on different levels in different buildings. Make it easy on yourself and build your schedule ahead of time so you can map out your routes and better anticipate the time needed to get from place to place. The Lower Level spans both buildings, so on your way from sessions in the North building to sessions in the South building, give yourself a long break and check out some of the great things going on down there on the Expo Floor.

Lost? Confused? Forlorn? Ask for Help. You’ll see plenty of folks in National Book Festival Event Staff shirts holding “Ask Me” signs. Our top-notch volunteers will have the answer to your questions or know who to ask!

Be Patient—and Have Fun! During the course of this amazing day, there may be bottlenecks, snafus and the frustrations inherent during any complex event in such a big venue. But remember, we’re all here to share our love of books and have a terrific time. Our festival staff and volunteers will do everything we can to ensure that you do, too. See you on Saturday!

The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Aug. 31. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.

2 Comments

  1. Sara Levis Valvonis
    September 4, 2018 at 11:54 am

    It was my first time at the Book Festival. I had a wonderful time. Everything was well-organized and punctual. The volunteers were incredibly helpful and happy. Great job!

  2. Rosanne Munt
    September 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    This was my first time attending the Book Festival also. What a wonderful event!!

    I agree that planning is key to getting the most out of the event. There were so many presentations that I wanted to see and signings that I wanted to take advantage of. It was impossible to do everything but with careful planning I managed to plan an unforgettable experience.

    I’m already planning to travel back to DC for next year.

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