The Southern Festival of Books kicked off a banner week for Vanderbilt Libraries. It was the first time the Library had a presence at the Festival held on the War Memorial Plaza which was decorated for the fall with mums and pumpkins. We shared a booth with the Nashville Review, a publication produced by Vanderbilt MFA students, and were next door neighbors of the Vanderbilt Press.
Our goal was to raise awareness of our libraries, in particular to inform attendees that Vanderbilt libraries are open to all. In addition, we collected a large number of names from festival-goers interested in attending future library events. The event attracted a good number of children (and some adults!) who learned how to make a pressman’s hat from a newspaper specially printed for the event. The newspaper featured stories about the library, and in particular one about the Mayor’s initiative Opportunity NOW, which allowed three high school interns to work in Special Collections this past summer. The Mayor’s picture was featured on the front of the newspaper, so it was especially gratifying when she stopped by our booth to pick up several copies!
Following the Festival, Martin Seay, author of the acclaimed book The Mirror Thief, read from his book and led a discussion on the future of reading. Earlier in the day, Seay spoke with MFA students and allowed the library to record an interview with him for the Book Love project, a series of interviews Mary Anne Caton is conducting with interesting individuals about their favorite books. The event kicked off the re-launching of Vanderbilt’s Friends of the Libraries, a group that is open to anyone interested in supporting the library by helping raise awareness, fundraising or attendance at events. Writer and editor Lydia Howarth (and wife to Chancellor Zeppos), Professor of Violin Connie Heard and VU alumna Marty Conrad have already agreed to serve on the advisory board. The evening ended with a reception and book signing, and was a perfect cap to a week for book lovers.