First lady Michelle Obama read to schoolchildren
in North Carolina in March. (Gerry Broome/AP)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will preside over the ninth National Book Festival, a daylong celebration of the joys of reading and literacy, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, on the National Mall.
"The National Book Festival has become a true American institution," said James Billington, the librarian of Congress. "It is a joyous and very popular celebration of books and reading in the Washington, D.C., area."
The Library of Congress organizes and sponsors the event, which is free and open to the public.
An estimated 120,000 people have attended each of the past two festivals, a library spokeswoman said.
Former first lady Laura Bush, a retired teacher and public school librarian, started the festival in 2001, modeling it after events she held as first lady of Texas.
This year's festival will feature about 70 award-winning authors, poets and illustrators in pavilions dedicated to specific genres of writing, ranging from history and biography to mysteries, thrillers, poetry and prose, and books for families and youngsters.
Since becoming first lady in January, Mrs. Obama has made several trips outside the White House to read to young children.