Library Plans to Resume In-Person Festival in 2022 at Washington Convention Center
Book lovers joined the Library of Congress National Book Festival from across the country over 10 days this year, totaling more than 317,000 views to date across a variety of platforms, including virtual events with authors and videos on demand. The festival reached even more people through a national television special, new podcast interviews and events hosted by partners across the country.
The festival, held Sept. 17-26, invited audiences to create their own National Book Festival experience and featured a diverse lineup of more than 100 authors, poets and writers discussing their new books spanning eight fiction and nonfiction genres. The full slate of festival programs remains available on demand at loc.gov/bookfest.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced planning is underway to host the 2022 festival in person over Labor Day weekend at the Washington Convention Center, while maintaining a robust virtual presentation for audiences nationwide.
The 2022 National Book Festival also will be curated by a new literary director. Clay Smith will join the national library this month as chief of Literary Initiatives to lead year-round literary programs, including the festival. He most recently served as literary director and one of the founders of the San Antonio Book Festival. Smith, who is also a journalist, was previously editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews and literary director of the Texas Book Festival where he worked with former first lady Laura Bush who also co-founded the National Book Festival in 2001. Smith was elected to the board of the National Book Critics Circle in 2015 and has written for the New York Times Book Review, among other outlets.
“The Library of Congress National Book Festival has extended its reach to become a truly national celebration of reading, and we are thrilled to welcome Clay Smith to help lead the festival to the next level,” said Shari Werb, director of the Library’s Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement. “We can’t wait to gather again with readers of all ages in 2022 for one of our nation’s premiere literary festivals.”
This was the second year the National Book Festival has shifted to an extensive virtual lineup of events and extended its reach online and through strategic collaborations with public libraries, organizations and media outlets, during a time when a large in-person event was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year’s National Book Festival audience represented all 50 states and participants from 188 countries,” said Jarrod MacNeil, director of the National Book Festival. “We are proud to bring together such a widespread community of readers with our national library.”
Several of this year’s programs will be featured in coverage Oct. 10 on Book TV on C-SPAN2, a longtime media partner of the festival. Book TV’s coverage will feature programs with authors Catherine Belton and Joshua Yaffa, Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas, authors Olivia Campbell and Janice P. Nimura, historian Joseph Ellis, and authors Patrick Radden Keefe and Eric Eyre. Find the most up-to-date schedule, search the Book TV archives or watch previously aired programs anytime at booktv.org.
For the first time this year, the festival also included interviews presented with Washington Post Live and through podcasts produced and distributed by NPR. The collaborations with media partners extended the festival’s reach to new audiences nationally, along with events hosted by partner libraries and organizations through the Festival Near You series of events scheduled through November.
This year’s festival also included a national television special on PBS. “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival” hosted by LeVar Burton premiered on Sept. 12 and has aired on hundreds of public television stations in recent weeks. The show, produced with Detroit Public Television, is also available for streaming on the Library’s website, on PBS.org and on the PBS Video app.
The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein. Sponsors include: Festival Vice Chair the James Madison Council; Charter sponsors The Washington Post, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities; Additional generous support from the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union, Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., Tim and Diane Naughton and Capital Group; Presenting Partner NPR; and Media Partners Book TV on C-SPAN 2 and The New Republic.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.