The Louisville Book Festival Story

Maybe you’ve visited our website or seen posts from Louisville Book Festival on your social media timelines.

Or maybe you’ve never heard of us, yet you love anything to do with the word “book!”

Either way, we’d like to take this opportunity to explain more about our mission, programs, and our first-ever festival. 

The Louisville Book Festival is on a mission to promote the love and benefits of reading, writing, and literacy throughout the community. We are working to accomplish this through year-round programs such as It Pays to Read and by holding an annual book festival each year. It is our hope that we can use the power of books and stories to cultivate a positive and vibrant community. 

Our 501(c)(3) organization was developed back in 2018 based upon our founder, Deedee Cummings’ belief in the power of literature. Growing up in Louisville, she was aware of the “book desert”, or lack of bookstores, in the west end of Louisville. Many of the children who live in this part of the city have little to no access to a variety of engaging and diverse reading materials. This leads to a number of difficulties, including a word-gap between children in high-poverty areas in comparison to those from more affluent areas. These children in the west end also do not have the same opportunities to see themselves represented in stories which can cause a lack of confidence, motivation, and self-efficacy.

The Louisville Book Festival works daily to help combat these issues. Our It Pays to Read Program is exactly what it sounds like. We bring children to our offices, and they have the opportunity to raise money simply by diving into an array of books. These books are diverse pieces of work that teach important lessons and help our students see that they, too, are capable of amazing things. Along the way, they also learn behavioral health goals, independent living skills, financial literacy, and the power of mentoring. 

We wanted to culminate our literacy programs into one large event for the public. Due to the pandemic, our inaugural book festival will be held virtually on October 23-24 of this year. This free event will be open to the public because we want to create a community filled with buzz and enthusiasm for reading. 

This festival will also provide an exciting platform for authors and presenters locally and nationally to share their expertise, market themselves, and promote their work. There is no cost to participate in our festival because we want to encourage a variety of participants to come together to take part in each other’s passions.

If you are an author or are interested in presenting on a book-related topic, please fill out a form via our website. 

We are pumped, nervous, and ready to hold such an exciting event in our city. We are looking forward to meeting all of you authors and book lovers there!

A word from LBF Founder, Deedee Cummings

They say it “takes a village” when it comes to raising kids and I couldn’t agree more. I also think this philosophy rings true when it comes to promoting a love of literacy with the next generation.

Getting books into the hands of young readers is among the dozens of reasons why I founded The Louisville Book Festival. I was raised in Louisville and I am a proud product of Jefferson County Public Schools. As a child, I loved to read, but I never found books with characters who looked like me or had a story similar to mine. I went on to work with Child Protective Services and eventually, I became a therapist, attorney, and author. My work has led me to the goal of seeing that every child in Louisville has at least twenty books at home, and hopefully, they will be able to see themselves inside of these books. There are more diverse books than ever, but still nowhere near enough.

Louisville Book Festival

This idea of this festival was born in my mind around 2017 and I mulled it over for quite some time. Then it hit me; if you want to spark change and progress, the first step needs to be made. No matter how small- just start. I knew I could no longer wait around for someone else to take the initiative and run with it.

It all came down to NINE words: If it’s meant to be, it’s up to ME.

The Things I Wanted The Louisville Book Festival to Represent

  • The nurturing, learning, and growth in every attendee by providing a place where authors, illustrators, publishers, and readers can come together.
  • A way to bring books to life for the Louisville community.
  • An opportunity for readers of all ages and backgrounds to discover new stories and revisit old favorites.
  • A place to shine the spotlight on diverse books and authors.
  • An opportunity for community partners to help books come to life with hands-on activities like science experiments, cooking demonstrations, crafts, and more.
  • A place where the hard questions about equality, inclusion, peace, and love can get asked…and answered.

A Work in Progress

This project is still in its infancy, but I am happy to say we are dedicated and committed to bringing this epic literacy event to the Louisville community in the Fall of 2020. The Louisville Book Festival will help us accomplish our goal of bringing books into the lives of young readers while celebrating our city’s culture and vibrancy.

I believe literacy is a fundamental human right. There is no better place to freely explore and exchange information and ideas, as well as demonstrate for ourselves and for future generations the power of books and reading.

Louisville Book Festival

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2 thoughts on “The Louisville Book Festival Story

  1. Greta Picklesimer Reply

    What a wonderful article. My book, Second Chance at Happiness, an inspirational historical romance novel fits in perfectly because it shows a diverse cast of characters overcoming the odds. My character, Catherine Reed, a one-room school teacher in the fictional town of Harrisville, Kentucky, believes anyone should be allowed to attend school no matter their color or background. When she allows in the children of ex-slaves can she win the divided town over to her thinking that everyone deserves an education? Look for me at the 2022 Louisville Book Festival. Thank you.

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