For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Parkway Central Library to host fourth annual Free Library Festival on April 17 and 18

PHILADELPHIA, February 19, 2010—Novelists, biographers, poets, costumed children’s storybook characters, and literary exhibitors will gather on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday and Sunday, April 17 and 18, for a celebration of creativity during the Free Library Festival. For the fourth year in a row, the Parkway Central Library will feature two days of fun and free events from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering community members the chance to catch readings from big names such as Sapphire (author of Push, the basis for the award-winning film Precious) and Kitty Kelley, who will discuss her new book about famous talk show host and media mogul, Oprah—plus poetry discussions and storytelling competitions! Embracing more than books, the Free Library Festival celebrates creativity in all forms and promises a burst of books, music, and inspiration for everyone.

“As the Free Library of Big Ideas, we are thrilled to host the fourth annual Free Library Festival,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “On behalf of the Library, I would like to thank all of our 2010 festival sponsors, especially the presenting sponsor for the fourth year in a row—the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Foundation’s continued support is a truly inspiring example of the civic-minded businesses and organizations in our community!” Additional 2010 Free Library Festival supporters include community partners Bank of America, the City of Philadelphia, and Fairmount Park; media sponsors 6abc, KYW Newsradio 1060, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Daily News; venue sponsor the Independence Foundation, Sprint, and Clear; and Joseph Fox Book Shop and Children’s Book World, booksellers that contribute a percent of sales from the Festival.

The Free Library Festival, which drew more than 35,000 people from the Mid-Atlantic region last year, offers something for everyone—in addition to Sapphire and Kitty Kelley, authors include the Booker award-winning author of The Life of Pi, Yann Martel (Beatrice and Virgil); and Tina Campbell of the urban gospel duo Mary Mary (Be U: Be Honest, Be Beautiful, Be Intentional, Be Strong, Be You!).

The young—and the young at heart—are invited to march down Vine Street alongside their favorite storybook characters, including the Berenstain Bears, Curious George, Corduroy, Clifford, Skippyjon Jones, and Peter Rabbit, during a character parade hosted by 6abc’s Tamala Edwards. And on Sunday, children can again join some of their favorite friends at the Teddy Bear Picnic, complete with bear stories and a sing along! Among the many children’s authors visiting will be New York Times bestselling author Judy Schachner (Skippyjon Jones); Caldecott Medal-winning author Jane Yolen (Foiled); Andrew Clements (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children); and Matt Phelan (The Storm in the Barn).

Another exciting draw at the Festival promises to be the second annual First Person Inter-City StorySlam, during which storytellers from Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia will compete against each other by spinning tales set to the theme “All About My Mother.” During the Festival’s StorySlam last year, an audience panel deemed Philadelphia the more “storied” city after local storytellers competed against those hailing from Chicago. We hope to be victorious yet again!

In between readings and story hours, visitors can stroll through the street fair and literary marketplace, the place for adults and children alike to explore what’s new in the literary world and visit exhibitors such as The Gettysburg Review, Murphy Writing Seminars, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Publishing Department and Division of Education, Temple University Press, and the University of Pennsylvania Press, as well as many independent authors.

For the second year in a row, the Free Library Festival will also celebrate National Library Week by kicking off the “10,000 Books for Children” book drive. Last year, the community rallied together to raise money for the more than 55,000 children and teens who participate in the Summer Enrichment program.

The Festival will culminate on Thursday, April 22 with a benefit concert by the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band of bestselling and award-winning authors. Amy Tan, Dave Barry, and Mitch Albom are among some of the authors who will put down their pens and take to the stage at the Electric Factory to raise funds for Free Library. More details and ticket information can be found at

The Festival’s distinct and colorful artwork captures the kinetic energy and creativity being celebrated, and the original piece was designed by local illustrator Eleanor Grosch, who earned early attention from clients with her rock posters for bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, and Sleater-Kinney. She has gone on to design pillows for Urban Outfitters, skateboard decks for Alien Workshop, sneakers for Keds, cards and calendars for Chronicle Books, and a multitude of other illustration and design projects. Her distinctive work combines bold, beautiful color combinations and simple geometric shapes inspired by the natural world. Recognized as one of Print magazine’s New Visual Artists of 2008, Eleanor has lived in Philadelphia since 2005, where she runs Pushmepullyou Design.
To find out more about the Free Library Festival, please visit or call 215-686-5322.
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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850