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Philanthropy: As American as the National Book Festival

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This guest post is by Katie Von Der Linde, an associate in the Library’s Development Office.

Philanthropy is patriotic. And, for its entire 20 years, the Library of Congress National Book Festival has benefited from generous donors across the country. Each gift builds on a 20-year tradition of sharing stories that connect and illuminate the world. And, in a time of global pandemic, people everywhere are looking to writers for inspiration, for solace and for hope.

Now more than ever, the Library is grateful to its many sponsors, donors and friends. Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein knows the importance of reading and literacy to this country. Each year, his gift enables attendees to connect with the authors that inspire them. His own patriotic philanthropy extends beyond the festival to other Library programs (Library of Congress Literacy Awards), including the Library’s incomparable collections of rare and unique items, such as the 1784 Abel Buell map – the first map of the newly independent United States that was compiled, printed and published in America by an American.

Generous companies like The Washington Post have been with us from the earliest festival in 2001. The same is true for Scholastic, celebrating its 100th year of ensuring that children acquire a lifelong love of reading. Later this week, we’ll share a conversation between Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson about the role literacy plays in democratic society. Wells Fargo and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction administered by The University of Alabama School of Law have both supported the festival for a decade.

Fellow government agencies have also been strong longtime partners: The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. We thank them. Their work ensures history, art and culture endure in America.

A new sponsor this year—the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, formed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—honors the courageous women who have worked to make America a more equitable nation. The commission is supporting “Fearless Women,” one of festival’s new timely topic, a series of author presentations that amplify a theme. The others are “Hearing Black Voices” and “Democracy in the 21st Century.”

Two Library organizations are also returning supporters—the John W. Kluge Center (sponsor of the “Democracy in the 21st Century” topic thread) and the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union.

The list of sponsors is long and highlights the widespread appreciation that of individuals and organizations have for this event:

  • The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction administered by The University of Alabama School of Law, which has given its prize in conjunction with the festival for 10 years
  • The American Psychological Association
  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon
  • Our Booklovers Circle Members
  • Others, including
    • Buffy Cafritz
    • Capital Group
    • Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc.
    • Joseph and Lynn Deutsch
    • Tim and Diane Naughton
    • The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation
    • The Rancho Mirage Writers Festival
    • The Skoll Foundation
    • Youth Speaks
  • Media Partners
    • C-SPAN2’s Book TV, which has been with us from the beginning too.
    • NBC4 Washington, DC
    • The New Republic and
    • NPR

Please join this group of important of donors and sponsors by making a gift to support the Library of Congress.

We’ll see you  at the National Book Festival Sept. 25-27. Visit for the extraordinary lineup of more than 120 authors, poets and illustrators.  And be sure to sign up for the latest news through our National Book Festival blog.