It feels too hot in Washington to move a muscle, but the indomitable staff members at the Library of Congress are already racing around to set up the 19th annual National Book Festival. The country’s greatest literary extravaganza will include Richard Powers, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Barbara Kingsolver, Raina Telgemeier and scores of other famous writers and illustrators for readers of all ages. We gave up counting long ago, but somewhere around 200,000 booklovers are expected to attend the festival at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Aug. 31.


Ned the Newshound (The Washington Post/File photo)

Keeping all those people happy, well-informed and moving is an extraordinarily complex challenge — and you could be part of the solution! Once again, the Library of Congress is recruiting more than 1,000 volunteers to help throughout the day.

If you’re interested in volunteering, all you need to do is attend one of these 90-minute training sessions at the library:

• Tuesday, Aug. 27, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Aug. 29, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

• Friday, Aug. 30, 10:30 to 12 p.m.

Volunteers must commit to serving at least five hours at the festival. There are dozens of different roles to fill, so if you’ve got the will to help, the library will find the way to make it happen.

For more information about volunteering, register online or write to nbfvolunteers@loc.gov.

Faye Levin is the tireless general in charge of this army of helpers. An avid book lover, she has recruited, trained and coordinated the festival volunteers since 2005. “The National Book Festival is simply the best annual event available in D.C.,” she tells me. Many folks come back to help out year after year. One repeat volunteer told her, “My faith in America’s love of great writing has been reborn by swimming along with the vast crowds that turn out for the love of the book.”

More than 20 Post reporters and editors — including the entire staff of Book World — will be at the festival, too, to introduce and interview authors throughout the day.

We’ll have more information about the festival in the coming weeks — including a special guide in your paper on Aug. 28.

The Washington Post is a charter sponsor of the National Book Festival.

Ron Charles writes about books for The Washington Post and hosts TotallyHipVideoBookReview.com.