Arts Desk

Library of Congress Announces $5 Million Donation to National Book Festival

The Library of CongressNational Book Festival just got a big financial boost. The Library announced this afternoon that David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, has donated $5 million ($1 million per year for the next five years) to support the festival.

This year marks the festival’s 10th anniversary, and the library says the donation means big things for the future of the festival. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a release that it will help ensure that the festival continues each year, and it will help the Library expand the festival into a fully integrated program emphasizing reading and promoting the library.

Also new is the creation of a National Book Festival Board, which Billington and Rubenstein will head, and which will promote and help raise money for the festival.

This year’s festival, set for Saturday, Sept. 25, has a self-referential theme: "A Decade of Words and Wonder." Though the slate of authors hasn’t been released yet, past years have drawn John Irving, Julia Alvarez, David Baldacci, Annette-Gordon Reed, and other notable names. In 2008, Washington City Paper named the festival, which was founded with help from Laura Bush, the "Best Reason to Be Unhesitatingly Positive About the Bush Administration" in the Best of D.C. issue.

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