The Na­tional Book Fes­ti­val needs 1,000 vol­un­teers

The Washington Post Sunday - - BOOK WORLD - BY RON CHARLES book­world@wash­ Ron Charles is the edi­tor of Book World.

The 17th Li­brary of Congress Na­tional Book Fes­ti­val is just a few weeks away. On Sept. 2, more than 100 best-sell­ing au­thors and il­lus­tra­tors will be on hand talk­ing about every­thing from kids books to cook­books, mys­ter­ies, po­etry, nov­els, bi­ogra­phies and his­tory.

We’ll pub­lish a spe­cial is­sue of Book World on Aug. 27 to help you plan your whole day.

If you’ve got your nose in a book, it might seem like the fes­ti­val pretty much runs it­self, but ac­tu­ally it’s the work of hun­dreds of peo­ple. And you could be one of them. The li­brary is look­ing for vol­un­teers — about 1,000, in fact. You can serve in a va­ri­ety of ways: wel­com­ing fes­ti­val-go­ers to the Wash­ing­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, pro­vid­ing di­rec­tions to the var­i­ous pavil­ions, serv­ing as an usher, work­ing in the in­for­ma­tion booth, hand­ing out pro­grams and help­ing keep or­der at the book sign­ings.

As a vol­un­teer, you just need to com­mit to one 41/2-hour shift on Satur­day, Sept. 2. And you never know what ex­tra­or­di­nary mo­ments of lit­er­ary his­tory you might wit­ness. (One year, I got to see Don DeLillo meet Mar­garet At­wood for the first time.) But the real joy comes from help­ing thou­sands of book lovers find their fa­vorite au­thors.

Vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Faye Levin has made the train­ing process as pain­less as pos­si­ble. The only re­quired prepa­ra­tion is at­ten­dance at one 90-minute meet­ing at the Li­brary of Congress. Sev­eral al­ter­nate train­ing times are avail­able:

Tues­day, Aug. 29, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Thurs­day, Aug. 31, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Fri­day, Sept. 1, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

If you’re in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing, send an email to Levin at

The Wash­ing­ton Post is a char­ter spon­sor of the Na­tional Book Fes­ti­val, which is free and open to the pub­lic.


Book en­thu­si­asts stand in line for a book sign­ing dur­ing the Li­brary of Congress Na­tional Book Fes­ti­val on Sept. 5, 2015.

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