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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 7, 2001

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the National Book Festival Gala
As Delivered
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.

Thank you, Dr. Billington.

Tonight we open the first chapter of the National Book Festival by having some of our nation's greatest writers tell us a few of America's stories.

I can't think of a better place to start than here, in the Library of Congress, the home of many of our country's great written treasures.

Indeed, the Library itself is an American treasure.

Many thanks to Dr. Billington and the Library for hosting this evening, and thanks also for your generous partnership in the National Book Festival.

I admit that I approached this weekend with great expectations.

Watching the Texas Book Festival unfold for the first time and then develop a life of its own was one of the most rewarding experiences this librarian has had.

Those November days provided ample foreshadowing of the events that are about to unfold in and around this great library.

In her autobiography, One Writer's Beginning the late Eudora Welty said this about her first library experience:

She said, "My mother wished me to have my own library card to check out books for myself. She took me in to introduce me to the librarian and said, 'Eudora is nine years old and has my permission to read any book she wants from the shelves.'"

She wrote, "Two by two, I read library books as fast as I could go, rushing them home in the basket of my bicycle. From the minute I reached our house, I started to read. I knew this was bliss."

Like Eudora Welty, I love to read, and I want more Americans to experience the sense of adventure and satisfaction that comes from reading a good book.

Here to read from his best-selling book, John Adams, is an author who knows how to bring to contemporary life a great subject in American history.

He's a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, historian, lecturer and narrator of some of television's most distinguished historical series.

He's a two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and he's one of our distinguished guests tonight.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome -- David McCullough.

# # #

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