President, First Lady to Continue Laura Bush's Book Festival

by Staff

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary chairs of the National Book Festival on September 26, continuing the annual event launched by former first lady Laura Bush in 2001. Held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the festival, which is organized by the Library of Congress, will feature about seventy poets, writers, and illustrators and include the Pavilion of the States and Let's Read America, a series of activities designed to promote reading and life-long literacy. 

"We are delighted that the president and Mrs. Obama are committed to bringing this inspirational event to people of all ages nationwide," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in a press release. "The National Book Festival has become a true American institution. It is a joyous and very popular celebration of books and reading in the Washington, D.C. area."

An estimated 120,000 people have attended each of the past two festivals, a library spokeswoman told the Associated Press. Laura Bush started the festival eight years ago, modeling it after events she held as a teacher and public school librarian in Texas.

Earlier this month the Obamas hosted the White House Poetry Slam, featuring poet Mayda Del Valle and novelist Michael Chabon, among others, fulfilling a campaign promise to “open up the White House and remind people this is the people’s house.”