Tucson Festival of Books takes over campus
Steve Nguyen/ The Daily Wildcat
From left to right: Sebastian Welch, Michael Thomas, and Adam Welch, Arizona Party Rental employees, begin setting up a tent for the Festival of Books, which begins on March 15.
Preparation is underway on the UA Mall for the Tucson Festival of Books’ sixth consecutive year.
Chris Kopach, assistant vice president of Facilities Management at the UA, has overseen the planning for this festival. According to Kopach, planning for the next year’s festival begins one month after the conclusion of the prior festival.
Setup for the 2014 Tucson Festival of Books began on Saturday, despite the rain. Kopach said there is a systematic way to set up the Mall for the festival. Setup starts from the east side of the Mall near Campbell Avenue and works its way down the length of the Mall.
More than 300 exhibitors and 450 authors will be present at this year’s book festival, Kopach said.
Several buildings on campus will be used during the festival for authors and exhibitors. Every classroom in the Integrated Learning Center will be used, as well as classrooms in the Modern Languages building, the Education building, the Kuiper Space Sciences Building and the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, Kopach said. Several rooms in the Student Union Memorial Center will also be utilized.
Kopach said the planning committee has had meetings since the beginning of the year to prepare for the festival, and that the preparation for this festival could not be done without the help of everyone involved. Between 1,500 and 2,000 volunteers will be helping to run the festival.
“It’s truly a team effort to put something on this size … [with] everyone working together as one team,” Kopach said.
Planning for the book festival included parking, risk management, accessibility and sustainability. Kopach said the planning committee is working with several entities on campus, such as Parking and Transportation Services, the University of Arizona Police Department and the Disability Resource Center.
Some of Kopach’s specific goals for the setup of this year’s festival is to include more ramps for accessibility purposes, as well as incorporating more recycling.
“We want to make sure everyone is on the same page … and we represent the University of Arizona,” Kopach said.
Marisa Lopez, a psychology sophomore, who works for the UofA Bookstore, said the presence of the festival should not inconvenience anyone because it is during spring break, so many students will be out of town.
Lopez said the bookstore staff members have different roles in helping out at the festival. Tasks include dressing up as characters from books, helping set up tents and doing crowd control.
However, Stephanie Salazar, a public management and policy sophomore who helped with tabling for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said the festival’s setup near the SUMC “does get to be obtrusive.”
Kopach said the anticipated turnout for the 2014 Tucson Festival of Books is around 125,000 visitors.
“It’s a great feel for the city of Tucson and the University of Arizona to be a part of,” Kopach said.