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National Book Festival Tips August 19, 2018

Every year, the Library of Congress hosts the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. It is a celebration of books, authors, and libraries. The festival was started in 2001 by First Lady Laura Bush. The first festival took place on the lawn near the Library of Congress. Now, it’s indoors at the Washington Convention Center. The festival usually takes place in very late August or early September.

If you’re planning to attend, these are four of our favorite National Book Festival tips.

1. Plan ahead

Go to the National Book Festival website and see exactly what you might want to do. It is hard to emphasize just how many people are going to be there. There are usually tens of thousands of people who attend this one-day festival. So, if you walk into the Convention Center with no plan, you’re going to feel completely overwhelmed. Wear your best pair of walking shoes and plan on doing a lot of walking.

2. Download the app

The National Book Festival has an official app that you should definitely download and use. It has all kinds of useful information like the schedule, authors in attendance, and a map of the Convention Center. It also includes information about where to go for book signings, and when you can see author talks.

If you do want to go to an author talk, it is really important to know exactly when it’s happening and where. If you’re trying to get a copy of a book signed by an author, you can either bring your own or buy one there. Now, if you want multiple copies signed that is going to be up to each individual author. After all, you will quickly discover how long some of the lines are.

3. Ask the volunteers

The Library of Congress recruits a small army of volunteers to help out every year. The whole reason why they are there is to help you. So do not feel shy about asking! The volunteers will have matching shirts and carry around matching signs.

4. Skip the festival food

The food vendors inside the Convention Center are pretty ordinary. You will find sandwiches, pizza, and other kinds of fast food. However, the biggest reason why you should not plan to eat here is because of the lines. There is also often not even enough space for people to sit down and eat. You should either eat beforehand or plan to visit a restaurant nearby afterwards. 

Coming to Washington DC for the Book Festival and want to stick around for a tour?

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Nicole Cremente

Nicole Cremente is a writer and marketing coordinator for Trip Hacks DC.

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