You can buy traditional festival fare on the grounds along Jefferson Drive and Madison Drive. There are restaurants in most of the museums along the Mall; the food at the National Museum of the American Indian is particularly delicious and unique. The McDonald’s in the Air and Space Museum has served — in the words of Carl Sagan — “billions and billions.”
Where can I go to the bathroom?
The authors will be using an air-conditioned trailer that’s more luxurious than your home. But don’t think about that; it will only make you more envious of their glamorous lives. The Library of Congress has ordered 140 porta-potties (including ones that are ADA accessible) along Madison Drive. Early in the day, these are surprisingly nice; later in the day, remember what Ada Doom saw in “Cold Comfort Farm.” Public restrooms are also available in the museums around the Mall.
Can I get Michael Connelly to read my manuscript?
In the words of Detective Harry Bosch, “Put that manuscript down now and step away.” Although your unpublished novel is, no doubt, a masterpiece, leave it in your desk drawer. These authors are here to tell you about their books, not to help you find an agent.
How can I follow or tweet about the festival on Twitter?
Tag your photos with and your tweets with the hashtag #natbookfest. Many of the festival authors, such as @LisaScottoline and @RL_Stine, are active tweeters. The Library of Congress (@librarycongress) will be live-tweeting both days of the festival.
Can I ask Charlaine Harris why Sookie doesn’t try dating a non-dead guy?
Don’t worry; she won’t bite. After every author presentation, members of the audience are invited to ask questions. Be brief. Be specific. Or the vampires will swoop down on you . . .
What if I’m in a witness relocation program?
All the author presentations are videotaped by the Library of Congress. If you don’t want to be part of the permanent collection, don’t go up to the microphone and ask a question.
Will any surprise guests show up at the festival?
Just between us: Keep an eye out for Mark Twain. (The rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated.) He’d love to talk with you about his favorite books, but if he asks you for help painting a fence, just walk away.
What accommodations are made for people with special needs?
ASL interpreting services are provided in all the author pavilions during scheduled events. The First Aid, Accessibility Information and Lost & Found Tent offers access to ASL interpreters, assistive listening devices, large-print programs, braille programs and other special services.
Books on paper are so 20th century. What have you got for the technorati?
Come see the Digital Bookmobile — a steampunk creation that connects the old library-on-wheels to the Internet of the future. In this 74-foot-long tractor-trailer, you can learn about borrowing e-books from public libraries and try out various mobile devices.
Will people bring their dogs?
One big red dog will cast a friendly shadow over the festival: Clifford is turning 50 — or 350 in dog years! Stop by the PBS Kids pavilion to share your birthday wishes with the Brobdingnagian pup. If your own pooch is dying to see Walter Isaacson or Lois Lowry — and who can blame him? — make sure you keep him on a leash and pick up after him.