Friday, September 23, 2011

My Perfect Day at the National Book Festival

With the National Book Festival tomorrow, I could not be more excited! In past years I had to squeeze all of the fun into 1 day. That’s no longer the case since the festival has been expanded into a 2-day event on September 24th and 25th on the National Mall.

This year I’m going to begin my festival experience on Saturday morning at the Book Sales Pavilion. I’ve got my eye on David McCullough’s “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris” and Terry McMillan’s “Getting to Happy”. By purchasing them first thing in the morning I’ll have the books with me as I stand in the book signing line on Sunday afternoon.

I'll make sure to get my NBF Program and get my free C-SPAN Book Festival Bag from one of the Program Distribution tents. That way, I will have something to carry my books in this weekend and can use it for grocery shopping all year!

I am planning on meeting a friend and her daughter at the Target Family Storytime Stage to hear the National Librarian, Dr. James H. Billington read a children's book to the crowd at 11:20am. The JLW will be manning the "red carpet" at the Storytime Stage which will feature children's authors and performers reading aloud from their favorite children's books all weekend.

Next stop will be to the Let’s Read America Pavilion. There are going to be all sorts of reading-related activities for families and children and I can’t wait to see what they have planned.

My favorite is the National Gallery of Art, but all of them are free and the ideal place to take a quick break. And sometimes there are food trucks parked in front of them, which is perfect for snack time!

After I’ve recharged I will be sure to make my way to the Pavilion on States, which is extremely important because it is a Saturday Only event. This is a fun exhibit because I can check all sorts of interesting facts about my home state, which is Tennessee, as well as Virginia, where I live now.

Before I head home, I’m planning to pop into the Library of Congress Pavilion. This year their theme is Past, Present, & Future, and they plan to have tools and resources available to help people research and preserve their family history. That’s something I’ve always wanted to look into so it’s the perfect opportunity.

By Saturday afternoon I’ll probably be beyond exhausted from running all over the mall trying to take in as much of this awesome festival as possible. The good news…? I get to come back tomorrow for Day Two!
Click for enlarged map.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Do the Obamas, Toni Morrison and Big Bird Have in Common?

The answer is easy. They will all be celebrating literacy September 24th and 25th at the 11th Annual National Book Festival on the Mall. President and Michelle Obama are serving as the honorary chairs of this great event. Toni Morrison will be attending the festival as one of the over 90 award-winning authors, poets and illustrators. Last but not least, Big Bird will be holding court in the PBS Kids Tent where games and entertainment will be taking place throughout the festival.

As the President of the Junior League of Washington, I am incredibly proud of the role the JLW volunteers play in the National Book Festival. This year our volunteers will be donating even more volunteer hours since the National Book Festival is two days! The Library of Congress is depending on the help of more than 550 JLW volunteers to manage book signing lines, manage the "red carpet" for a live story-reading stage, and staff the Pavilion of the States and the PBS Kids tents. It is sure to be a big undertaking – we are thrilled to partner with the Library of Congress again and welcome the

The annual free event, sponsored by the Library of Congress, features more than 80 high- profile authors and poets. Last year, more than 120,000 people arrived at the National Mall to meet their favorite authors, listen to poetry readings and author discussions, and have their books autographed. The 2011 Festival will be celebrating literacy in more ways than ever before. With new genres, such as "Graphic Novels" (cartoons!), more authors, and new activities centered on the Festival's theme of "Reading Aloud," it is sure to be an exciting weekend for all.

The Festival offers something for everyone regardless of age and reading interests. In addition to the Pavilion of States where kids can receive a stamp from all 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories, there is the Digital Bookmobile where visitors can explore some of the new reading related technology now available. Depending on your favorite type of reading material, you may want to listen to David McCullough discuss his newest book, “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris”. Or perhaps
you’d prefer to wait in line to have your copy of “Getting to Happy” signed by Terry McMillian.

Learn more and check out the full list of authors at the Library of Congress’ web site.

Mark September 24th and 25th on your calendar and be sure to bring the whole family to the Mall to enjoy the National Book Festival!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Welcome!  Throughout the year you’ll be getting updates from this blog on activities and on our community impact.  If there are topics that you're interested in learning more about, please let me know.

After summer days of relaxation and fun, and two acts of nature in one week, we’re surely ready for a change of pace. While our Junior League has been enjoying this summer, we've also been hard at work.  I want to fill you in on the progress of three of our initiatives. And it is hard to limit to three.

For starters, the Centennial and Centennial Celebrations Committees have begun planning and preparations to be ready for next year's League-wide events to celebrate our 100th year. And in this the JLW’s 99th year, we’re reflecting on the achievements of the remarkable women who have served the Washington community before us. Watch out for highlights in the Hotline of the many firsts, the lasting legacies, and the things to which we can proudly point to that demonstrate that the Junior League has had a meaningful impact in our Nation’s Capitol.

Next up: furthering our efforts in the complex issues around literacy. Last year the Literacy Impact Task Force sought answers to the key questions of what are the greatest literacy needs in the Washington, DC community. Tapping the expertise of women inside and outside the League, they concluded that our organization is well suited to supporting the building of reading skills of children in Washington.  The second phase of the Task Force helped to narrow the focus in ways that exploit our own special talents into three needs areas:

1.      Lack of reading materials in the home,
2.      Lack of school and classroom libraries, and
3.      Lack of awareness in the importance of reading aloud to young children.

This year, phase three of the Literacy Impact Task Force, led by Erica Anaya and Anne Riser, is identifying partners and piloting projects to meet one or more of these needs areas. Be on the lookout for more information.

And third, telling our story. The Junior League of Washington has an incredible story to tell, and you add to it every time you get together with your fellow members to make a difference. We’re looking for better ways to tell our story – so that all of us in the League, and our neighbors, friends and others can share the pride. The board authorized a special committee to explore future options for the Hotline and other communications tools. This special committee is being chaired by Angela Peluso and Stephanie See, and benefits from the added insights of actives, sustainers, new members.

As we move through our 99th year, please take the opportunity to reflect on our proven history of impact, to support efforts to raise the reading skills of Washington children, and to help us tell our story – the story of making a difference in the lives of our community – every day.