“I Cannot Live Without Books.”

The Reading Room inside the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Reading Room inside the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building.

“I cannot live without books, but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object. I am about sending him a catalogue to which less than his critical knolege of books would hardly be adequate.”

After the fire-y devastation of Britain’s 1814 assault on DC, there was nothing left of the 3,000 volumes that made up the congressional library’s core collection. The quote above is what Thomas Jefferson said to John Adams after selling his personal library (6,487 books) to rebuild the library of Congress.

Today, the Library of Congress (all caps!)—the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution—is the largest library in the world. This year it celebrates both it’s 200th birthday and its 15th annual National Book Festival.

The National Book Festival (it’s free!) will be held on Saturday, September 5th, from 10am to 10pm at the Washington Convention Center. The theme? “I cannot live without books.”


The festival will include themed presentations from approximately 175 authors, illustrators and poets. Presentation categories include children, teens, picture books, biography and memoir, contemporary life, food, fiction, history, science fiction and many more.

Book sales will take place at Politics & Prose. This is where you’ll be able to purchase selected books by Festival authors—and where you should scoop books by your favorite authors before you go to the Festival’s book-signing areas.

Also included in the festival are panel discussions, a behind-the-scenes look at the Library of Congress, a poetry slam, a Graphic Novels Super Session, a panel on “Great Books to Great Movies” and, for the first time, a Romance fiction pavilion.

Fun and incredible facts about the Library of Congress:

  • It contains more than 160 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves.
  • Included in the collection are more than 37 million books and other print materials, 3.5 million recordings, 14 million photographs, 5.5 million maps, 7.1 million pieces of sheet music and 69 million manuscripts.
  • Every working day, the Library receives around 15,000 items and adds approximately 12,000 items to the collections daily.

For more information about the Library of Congress 15th annual National Book Festival, click here.

Happy reading!

One response to ““I Cannot Live Without Books.”

  1. Pingback: This Weekend: Labor Day Festivities | Urban Scrawl·

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