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Iowa City Book Festival Named “Attraction of the Year”

Great cities of literature have great book festivals. Thanks to the Iowa City Book Festival, presented by The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City is no exception. The Iowa City Book Festival is the 2010 Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Attraction of the Year.

“The Iowa City Book Festival is just a wonderful addition to the rich literary tradition of our community,” said CVB President Josh Schamberger. “In just its second year, it has already become the kind of event that attracts residents and visitors alike to celebrate books, reading, and authors.”

Attendance at the 2010 edition of the festival was more than four times that seen in the inaugural year, in part due to a concerted effort to work with the retail community to host events in businesses on the final day of the festival. Those events, many of which were standing room only, complemented the impressive slate of readings and discussions that occurred earlier in the festival while attracting customers to the businesses that participated.

“We were very surprised to learn that the CVB recognized the Iowa City Book Festival presented by The University of Iowa Libraries as attraction of the year,” said University Librarian Nancy Baker. “We are thankful to the CVB, the other libraries in Johnson County, and our partners in the business community. We asked these organizations to take a chance on us and our idea, and together we created a great new event in Iowa City.”

One of the festival’s co-directors notes that the award suggests the event is meeting expectations.

“This award from the CVB is particularly gratifying as it recognizes one of our main goals for the festival: to develop an attraction that brings people to the University Library in celebration of our community’s rich literary and book arts heritage,” said Greg Prickman of The University of Iowa Libraries.

Co-director Kristi Bontrager of The University of Iowa Libraries is thankful for the support of a literary town:  “I think the success of the Iowa City Book Festival is due to the fantastic support we receive from this community. We are a community readers and writers. And for a couple of days in the middle of July, thousands of us come together to talk about books. What could be more fun?”