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NEH Celebrates Literature and Reading at the National Book Festival on Saturday, September 25, 2010

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2010) — For the tenth year in a row, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports the Library of Congress’ annual National Book Festival, which will be held Saturday, September 25, 2010. This celebration of literature and reading takes place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The festival and the day’s events are free and open to the public.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is a long-time contributor to the annual National Book Festival, and provides funds to the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress for its festival-related activities and for participation in the Pavilion of the States by nine humanities-based state centers for the book.

NEH will join the Centers for the Book for Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia in the Festival’s Hall of States from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, NEH staff will distribute copies of a newly-published booklet, 150 Years Later: The Civil War Remembered. Festival-goers are invited to hear about NEH grant opportunities in the humanities for researchers, libraries, museums, and education institutions, and to learn about many other NEH-supported programs and events, especially those marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, which include:

About the Library of Congress and the National Book Festival

The National Book Festival is a keystone event of the Library of Congress promoting literacy and creativity. The Library, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website; the National Book Festival website can be found here.

  • DVDs of the NEH-funded Ken Burns series The Civil War: A Film will be distributed to 4,000 school and public libraries as part of the 2010-11 We the People Bookshelf on “A More Perfect Union.” With seventeen books on this theme, NEH invites reflection on the idea of the United States as a “union” in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Begun in 2003, the We The People Bookshelf is an annual program conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA) that provides libraries serving K-12 students with collections of books for young readers on themes related to American ideas and ideals.
  • The exhibit An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia which focuses on Virginia’s central role in the military and social revolution that framed the way Americans today approach the issues of freedom, liberty, patriotism, and nation. The exhibition will open in Richmond in 2011, and travel to six other cities in Virginia, after which a smaller version will circulate to other venues.
  • A two-hour documentary exploring the life and reputation of Robert E. Lee, to be broadcast on PBS’ American Experience in 2011.
  • Four traveling exhibits on Abraham Lincoln, including “Lincoln, the Constitution and the Civil War” which explores three Constitutional crises Lincoln faced as President: slavery, secession, and civil liberties. Created by the National Constitution Center, this exhibit is currently on tour to 25 sites across the United States.
  • Several summer seminars and professional development workshops for K-12 teachers and college faculty on Civil War-era topics, including a summer institute for school teachers to be held in 2011 at the Rhode Island Historical Society examining the role of slavery in the development of New England’s commerce, industry, and culture in the years before the Civil War.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov