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Edutainment Galore at the Library of Congress Pavilion

Visitors tour the Library of Congress pavilion at the 2018 National Book Festival. Photo by David Rice.

This is a guest post by Becky Brasington Clark, director of publishing.

An appearance by Marian Bantjes, who designed the 2019 National Book Festival Poster, is one of many diverse and engaging presentations scheduled at the Library of Congress Pavilion.

A striking structure with a luminous arched ceiling, the Pavilion serves as gateway to the Library’s many exhibitors and presenters on the expo floor. With seating for 50 and a 55” video monitor, it’s a great place to rest your aching feet and learn more about what’s happening at the world’s largest library, from genealogy to veteran’s history.

Ahmed Johnson will provide guidance on researching genealogy, including an overview of available materials—digitized oral histories, newspapers, maps and photographs—­that help users reconstruct untold stories of generations past.

Kerry Ward will explore ways participants can view and make history through the Library’s Veterans History Project, which is dedicated to collecting, preserving and making accessible the firsthand remembrances of our nation’s heroes.

By the People, the Library’s new crowdsourcing text transcription initiative, provides curious learners of all ages with the opportunity to transcribe primary documents—including the papers of leading suffrage and civil rights activists, presidential papers, and civil war letters. Victoria Van Hyning will discuss how this innovative program makes these materials easier to discover and accessible to users who rely on assistive devices like screen readers.

Making reading possible for people with blindness, low vision and other conditions is the mandate of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Jason Yasner will describe the tools and services that help NLS bring the joy of reading to people who cannot use traditional books.

Science meets logistics in the Library’s Preservation Directorate. Jacob Nadal will shed light on the expert conservation treatments that help preserve the collections, as well as the supply chains and environmentally optimized storage facilities that facilitate the processing of hundreds of thousands of items every year.

Erica Freas-Smith will present a broad overview of the Library’s foreign acquisitions programs—what they do and don’t collect and where the collection items come from. Then she’ll encourage audience participation with a fun and interactive quiz.

George Thuronyi will challenge participants with two rounds each of Library trivia and copyright trivia. During Library trivia, participants can learn more about wonderful and strange quirks of history, the treasures contained within the Library’s walls, the scope and breadth of the collections, and the vast digital resources. Copyright trivia will weave questions about how creativity is promoted through copyright law, along with facts about how the U.S. Copyright Office came to be a part of the Library almost 150 years ago.

Photographer and documentary filmmaker Michael Ford will share photographs and insights from his new book, “North Mississippi Homeplace: Photographs & Folklife,” which captures the lost world of rural Mississippi from the 1970s.  He will be joined by blues musician Mark “Muleman” Massey, who will perform original and traditional Mississippi blues.

Find the Library of Congress Pavilion on the exposition floor on the lower level of the Convention Center,  along with a variety of family-friendly activities and food vendors. Check the Festival app, web site or printed schedule (available onsite Aug. 31) for maps and schedules.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Aug. 29. You can get up-to-the-minute news, schedule updates and other important festival information by subscribing to this blog. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.

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