Monday, August 31, 2015

Thomas Jefferson Can’t Live Without Books, and Neither Can JLW Volunteers

The 15th annual Library of Congress (LOC) National Book Festival is this Saturday, Sept. 5, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., at the Washington Convention Center. More than 150 authors and illustrators, librarians from across the country, and new activities and presentations guarantee to make this year’s festival a worthwhile event.

Not only is this year the 15th anniversary, but the LOC is also celebrating another big milestone. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the LOC’s acquisition of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. As a tribute to the former president’s collection and love of books, the theme of the 2015 book festival is centered around a quote of Jefferson’s, “I cannot live without books.” This quote and theme is captured in the poster for this year’s festival, which was created by acclaimed illustrator and designer Peter de Sève!

Jefferson isn’t the only one who can’t live without books. By helping provide volunteers for the National Book Festival for the past 13 years, the Junior League of Washington has been able to help promote literacy in its community while assisting in the festival’s success every year. By volunteering at the festival, Junior League volunteers receive the chance to interact with amazing authors, help librarians across the country and make sure festival attendees have the best experience possible.

Some of the new offerings and activities at this year’s National Book Festival are highlighted below, but remember, while the festival continues to change and grow, one thing never changes—it is always a place for people who cannot live without books.

For the Romantics
At 7:15 p.m. National Public Radio’s Petra Mayer will emcee a program devoted to romance fiction, featuring romance authors Sarah MacLean, Beverly Jenkins and Paige Tyler.

Calling All Movie Lovers
At 8 p.m., A. Scott Berg, winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, will give an overview of Sam Goldwyn’s Hollywood and the rise of the film industry while “Washington Post” film critic Ann Hornaday will moderate a panel on the topic.

If you’re a History Buff
From 2:35 to 7:10 p.m., a variety of writers on war will discuss the human side of war and provide a tribute to the American war experience. Award-winning broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw will speak about his book “The Greatest Generation.” Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Rick Atkinson will talk about human stories from his Liberation trilogy, National Book Award finalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran and co-author Howard Schultz will discuss their book on veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and West Point Professor Elizabeth Samet will host a discussion with war novelists who have written about Iraq and Afghanistan.

JLW encourages you to tell your family and friends to attend the National Book Festival, or bring them with you when you go! If you want to stay up-to-date on all book festival news and activities, make sure to download the new National Book Festival app, which will include the complete schedule of author presentations, book signing lines and activities. Finally, thank you to all who have signed up to volunteer; your time and dedication is valued and appreciated by all who love books!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

NMWA Art Displays Nature-centric Pieces

Over the hill in an isolated part of Missouri appears a light, its origins unknown, coming from seemingly nowhere. The ball of light can be seen on chance evenings deep in Ozark country, bounding down an abandoned road. In the Devils Promenade region of the Ozarks, falling between Missouri and Oklahoma, locals all know about the phenomenon known as the “Spook Light,” the origins of which date as far back as the 1830s.

Laura Shipley, a photographer and native to rural Missouri, captures the essence of the Spook Light legend in her 2013 photographs, “In the Ozarks There are Lights and False Light.” While some Ozark residents go searching for the mysterious glow of the Spook Light, others feel threatened or frightened by its presence. Shipley’s work, in her collection of photographs titled “Devils Promenade,” ties together folklore, oral history, and fictional stories from the area, bringing light to the inhabitants of this isolated community.

“In the Ozarks There are Lights” and “False Light” are two pieces included within the “Women to Watch—Organic Matters” exhibition currently on display at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA). “Women to Watch” is a biennial series presented by the museum that features emerging or underrepresented female artists from around the globe. For “Organic Matters,” NMWA staff selected 20 pieces representing 13 artists, all of whose work focuses on the theme of nature. From photographs to drawings and sculptures to video, these 13 women all bring a variety of perspectives on the complex relationship with the natural world.

Super Natural,” a second exhibition presented concurrently with Women to Watch—Organic Matters, explores historical and contemporary interpretations of nature. Separated into three distinctive categories—flora, fauna, and Mother Earth anew—more than 50 works created by 25 female artists are featured in the exhibition that asks museum visitors “what is natural?” Pieces on display range from the traditional to the avant-garde: created in 1719, more than 26 engraved images from Swiss artist Maria Sibylla Merian hang in the gallery, depicting up-close compositions of species native to Suriname; Sharon Core, a contemporary photographer from the United States, meticulously creates and photographs realistic-looking roses from pigs’ ears (as featured in her 1997 piece, “Single Rose”).

Women to Watch—Organic Matters and Super Natural are on display at NMWA through September 13. Additional information about the exhibitions can be found on the NMWA website: and

NMWA was incorporated as a private, nonprofit museum in 1981, opening its doors to the public in its current location on New York Avenue in 1987; NMWA is the only museum in the world whose sole focus is on celebrating the accomplishments of female artists. The Junior League of Washington has been associated with NMWA since 1983; today, 24 women from the League serve as visitor experience volunteers, staffing the information desk, leading conversation-piece discussions and tours, and supporting the museum at a variety of events.

Please contact NMWA Committee Chair, Lori Vitelozzi, at with any questions about the committee.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Library of Congress Interview with JLW President Cameron Gilreath

The following post is a Q&A with Junior League of Washington President Cameron Gilreath.
Many people are familiar with Junior Leagues in their hometowns, but for those who aren’t, can you share with us in brief the mission of the Junior League of Washington?
The Junior League of Washington (JLW) is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. At its core, the purpose of the JLW is educational and charitable, and we really strive to make a tangible difference in the lives of women and children in the D.C. area. We currently have more than 2,300 women who are a part of the JLW, and throughout our history have provided more than 5 million volunteer hours and more than $5.4 million to organizations in our community that reflect our mission.
Why is the National Book Festival and literacy a focus for JLW?
The JLW is committed to using its resources where we can have the largest impact, which is why for over fifteen years, we have focused on one of the greatest challenges facing our region, illiteracy. The ability to read, write, and communicate plays an important role in everyday life and impacts a person’s ability to provide for themselves and their family. We currently work with more than 20 leading, local nonprofits. By improving reading and comprehension skills and educational opportunities, we can help give people a dramatically improved chance for success. Our focus and dedication to literacy has also produced a long and valued history with the National Book Festival–spanning 13 years and nearly 5,000 JLW volunteers giving more than 23,000 volunteer hours. The National Book Festival provides a great opportunity for the JLW to live out its mission– it provides us with a platform to promote the importance of voluntarism while supporting an initiative that highlights the positive impact of books and literacy.

To read more of Cameron's interview please click here

This blog post was originally published on July 24, 2015 by the Library of Congress and features the Junior League of Washington. JLW thanks the LOC for our partnership and allowing us to share this information with you.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#JLWvol on Instagram

JLWdc is now on Instagram! Thanks to the members who asked JLW to create an account, and the fantastic submissions we've received for current events and Throwback Thursdays, the League’s Insta account is live and thriving.

Follow JLW on Instagram by clicking here or searching “3039M.” The PR & New Media Committee also encourages members to tag the League’s account when posting photos from JLW events; and as with all of our social media sharing, please use #JLWvol as your main hashtag.

August is also a great time to make sure you are connected to all of JLW’s social media accounts. The League has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, and makes frequent posts on the JLW blog. To learn more about how to share your committee’s content on one of the JLW’s numerous social platforms, email

Friday, August 7, 2015

15th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival Coming Sept. 5

Free Event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Offers Array of Activities
The organizations sponsoring the Library of Congress National Book Festival offer an array of fun and exciting activities and programs for festival attendees of all ages in the exhibition area, on the lower level of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The 15th National Book Festival will be held at the Washington Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (doors open at 9 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 5. The event is free and open to the public. More information is at

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are the honorary chairs of the event. The distinguished benefactor of the festival is David M. Rubenstein. Rubenstein also funds the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program.
National Book Festival sponsors will offer family-friendly activities on the exposition floor in Halls A, B and C and will be open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
In addition to the activities throughout the day, scheduled special events will be posted on the festival website and on on-site signage to help visitors plan their days. New to the festival this year will be an event app, available in coming weeks to give visitors additional scheduling tools.
Festival-goers can stop by the new Literacy Corner to learn what literacy is and why it is important, and to participate in literacy-themed activities. The Literacy Corner will feature an ongoing story time for ages 4 through 8, literacy information for parents, caregivers and educators, a graffiti wall and other interactive opportunities presented by Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program award winners.
AARP will feature its literacy-focused programs for people of all ages in an exciting and interactive exhibition space filled with surprises, activities and contests. Giveaways and opportunities to win prizes will be offered throughout the day.
AARP Experience Corps, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington Hylton Branch -- sponsored by the Old Dominion Chapter (VA), The Links, Incorporated -- and others will participate in story reading and interactive reading and literacy games. AARP TEK (Technology, Education, Knowledge) will provide a charging station for attendees to recharge electronic devices, while computer experts will answer technical questions and show people how to get the most out of their computers, tablets and phones. AARP Books will showcase useful publications, which will be available in the festival’s onsite Politics & Prose bookstore. Festivalgoers can also learn about AARP and the many "Real Possibilities" it provides for people of all ages. Dynamic Life Reimagined programs will be showcased along with AARP’s efforts to "disrupt aging."
A slide show will acquaint visitors with the history of AARP’s impact on the American landscape and AARP staff will provide information on community-focused programs and campaigns, volunteer opportunities and career opportunities at AARP.
Attendees can talk to representatives of their home states and learn about each state’s literary heritage from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the Pavilion of the States. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the major sponsor of this pavilion, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The IMLS and NEH support allows an affiliate of the Library’s Center for the Book in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories to come to the festival. The "Discover Great Places Through Reading" brochure offers a list of 52 great reads and a map for kids that encourages them to visit all 52 affiliates (plus the Library of Congress Center for the Book) to get a unique sticker or stamp. Many of these books will be for sale in the festival bookstore.
The Washington Post will invite visitors to become their own storytellers in an exciting new series of spoken, written and visual activities. To celebrate the tradition of oral storytelling, local authors will read aloud from their books throughout the day. Festivalgoers can use their imaginations and practice writing by picking up a storytelling activity book that includes storybook word games, National Book Festival trivia, a create-your-own comic strip and a removable color-your-own bookmark. Visitors are welcome to complete each activity at special stations with examples of how to complete the exercise.
The Post’s mascot, Ned the Newshound, returns to the festival and will make a special appearance from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to pose for photos. As part of the Post’s longstanding partnership with the festival, a special edition of "Book World" covering the festival will be available at information booths.
This year Wells Fargo is excited to introduce Wells Fargo’s all-new Together Experience, where festival-goers can participate in a virtual maze challenge interactive game, record a testimonial in its video booth, take photos and win prizes. Wells Fargo representatives will continue to read and share a large assortment of children’s books, and, of course, the Wells Fargo Stagecoach and hands-on history activities will be onsite as well.
The National Endowment for the Arts sponsors the Poetry & Prose pavilion of author presentations (Room 145AB), which will again feature readings and discussions by award-winning writers and poets, many of whom have received NEA Literature Fellowships. The Poetry & Prose pavilion will also feature student champions from Poetry Out Loud, an NEA and Poetry Foundation program in which high-school students memorize and perform classic and contemporary poems in competition. The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, the National Endowment for the Arts and the poetry organization Split This Rock will also present the National Book Festival Youth Poetry Slam, which will showcase slammers from Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
C-SPAN2’s Book TV will be live from this year’s National Book Festival – as it has been for every festival. Its coverage of the festival will include author presentations and author call-in segments from the Book TV set. The network will also provide its ever-popular festival bag – this year in blue – available at information booths, the bookstore and at the Book TV exhibit on the exposition floor. "First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women," by Susan Swain and C-SPAN will be available in the festival bookstore.
The Junior League of Washington (JLW) will return as the Library’s primary partner for volunteer support, a role the organization has played since 2003. More than 400 JLW volunteers will manage the book-signing lines and staff other locations throughout the festival. The JLW is committed to promoting volunteerism, improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers and developing the potential of women. Learn more about the JLW, its mission and its focus on literacy at the JLW table.
The festival heads to Mars with National Geographic and Buzz Aldrin, the pioneering astronaut, rocket scientist, advocate for Mars exploration and author of the new children's book "Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet." Aldrin will speak in the Children's pavilion at 1:20 p.m. and sign books from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, in the National Geographic exhibit, festival-goers of all ages can get an Interplanetary Experience. Take space-selfies, play the "Pack Your Bag for Mars" game, enjoy the coloring station and learn tons of weird-but-true space facts. There will also be a chance to win exciting prizes and take some fun home with great giveaways.
Scholastic returns to the festival with an array of giveaways, tips and titles to help inspire the joy and power of reading and "Open a World of Possible" for all children. Young festival-goers can pose for a photo with their favorite literary characters and join in the arts-and-crafts fun by coloring and glittering special character pages. The whole family can kick back and relax in the reading corner, which will feature exciting new Scholastic releases and read-alouds scheduled every hour. Stop by and visit staff and volunteers from WAMU 88.5 FM, a festival media partner, to learn more about WAMU 88.5 programs and to pick up giveaways. WAMU 88.5 FM is one of the top news and information radio stations in the Washington, D.C. region and the leading NPR public radio station in the nation’s capital. It provides comprehensive local, national and global news and is home to award-winning hosts and reporters, such as Diane Rehm and Kojo Nnamdi.
Young children and their families can share the joy of early-math learning at the Mathical Station sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Throughout the day, authors of Mathical storybooks will meet and greet kids and their families. Kids can sign up that day for mini-workshops on geometric balloon bending. The schedule also includes a chance to play apps and activities for early math learning, "e-book storytime with mathy tales" and a fold-and-create art activity for kids of all ages. Kids of all ages are encouraged to play! Many of the Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teen - a new youth book prize honoring the most inspiring math-related fiction and nonfiction books - will be available in the festival bookstore.
The Mensa Education & Research Foundation is working with the Library for a fourth year to create a festival poster Eye Spy activity and a Children’s Guide to the festival. The guide will be available online at, and at information booths.

The National Book Festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy. Since 2010, National Book Festival Board Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein has been the festival’s lead benefactor and has pledged funding for the festival for five more years. Charter Sponsors include AARP, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsor, the National Endowment for the Arts; the Contributor-level sponsors are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, Jacqueline B. Mars, The Junior League of Washington, National Geographic, Scholastic Inc. and WAMU 88.5 FM; and, in the Friends category, the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., the Cultural Institute of the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, The Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams, Inter-American Development Bank, The Jefferson Hotel, Susan Carmel Lehrman, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute with support from board chair Roger A. Strauch, Mensa Education & Research Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, NPR, Small Press Expo and Split This Rock. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions.
The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading promotion partners and through the Library’s Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center. For more information, visit

This news release was originally published on July 24, 2015 by the Library of Congress and features the Junior League of Washington. JLW thanks the LOC for our partnership and allowing us to share this information with you.