David, the mascot of the 2010 Festival
Sadly, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will not be held at UCLA, or at least not for the year of 2011. Instead, the Los Angeles Times and USC have negotiated and come to an agreement that USC will host the massive book fair that in the past has completely taken over the UCLA campus. The L.A. Times cites its move to USC as a means to become bigger and better.

The move to USC will supposedly allow more to experience at the festival as well as greater public access due to USC’s centrality and proximity to public transportation. The UCLA Newsroom stated that while UCLA is disappointed that the Festival of Books will be located elsewhere, it is not surprised. In negotiations, the Times wanted to increase profits and reduce costs which would require more subsidization on UCLA’s part, subsidization that UCLA cannot provide at this point in time.

For UCLA students, the move of the Festival of Books is a hard loss. The Festival of Books was a springtime tradition, a weekend for students to walk onto campus and instead of going to class or a club, to see a panel of their favorite author or to find some new exciting treasure to read. It was a weekend to forget about classes for the day and enjoy the pleasures of books without having to travel. The Festival of Books was like a literary circus coming into our very home. It will be sorely missed by the students.

The rows of books
As a second-year, I only had the chance to experience the fair once. My friends had told me about it and I was excited for its arrival. It exceeded my expectations. Rows upon rows of books covered the campus. As I walked around I could hear through speakers a famous celebrity like Sarah Silverman talking or I would happen across a poetry reading that would make me pause and reflect.  It’s unfortunate that the classes following mine will not get to share in this experience.

Even though it will be at USC, thirty minutes across town from UCLA, I will still consider attending the festival. I think many people will as well. USC and UCLA may be rivals, but when it comes to the literary world, we can put that aside for a good book.

The L. A. Times Festival of Books will be from April 30th to May 1st.