Fifteen years into a not-so-new millennium, we have come to the realization that computer “glitches” will not cripple society and electronic devices have not spelled the end of the printed page.

Those who are not convinced need only visit the north end of the campus at the University of Southern California this weekend for the 20th incarnation of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Heralded as the United States’ largest such festival, it is a significant accomplishment for a city all to often dismissed as a cultural wasteland full of shallow airheads, more apt to engage in sun worship and to follow the latest health fad instead of serious literary pursuits.

“The Times started the Festival of Books in 1996 with the simple goal of bringing together the people who create books with the people who love to read them,” remembers John Conroy, spokesperson for the L.A. Times. “It was an immediate success,” Conroy continues.

“…and over the past 20 years (the festival) has grown to become the largest literary and cultural festival in America, attracting more than 150,000 attendees each year.”

Originally held across town on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles, the festival changed venues in the wake of budget cuts to the UC system in circa 2010. But regardless of locale, this event has grown steadily every year, to the point where it contains a variety of attractions including musical performances; art exhibits as well as food vendors and cooking demonstrations.

“Adding art, music and food elements was a natural evolution,” declares Conroy, noting the festival is a natural extension of the Times commitment towards making its readership a more enlightened, informed, and urbane segment of society.

“L.A. is a city built on ideas and creativity, and for 133 years The Times has led conversations that have made Angelenos more engaged and informed. For the festival it made sense to add other mediums to showcase all the different ways words can inspire, whether they’re in an article, a book, a song, or a recipe.”

As befitting Los Angeles’ reputation as an epicenter for celebrities, this event boasts scores of notables from within the literary realm and beyond. Among those expected at this year’s celebration are:

Renaissance man extraordinaire Levar Burton, best known for his acting roles in televisions’ “Roots” and “Star Trek,” who will receive the festival’s Innovators Award for his work with the PBS children’s literacy series, Reading Rainbow; Brandy Colbert, whose young adult mystery “Pointe,” centers on the growing pains of an aspiring ballet dancer; best selling urban fiction writer Eric Jerome Dickey; native Angeleno and USC alum Angela Flourney, whose newly released novel “The Turner House,” examines how 13 siblings deal with the upside down mortgage of their family home in recession-ravaged Detroit; journalist and culture critic Nelson George; Canadian-Jamaican author Malcolm Gladwell; Jamaican poet and playwright Claudia Rankine; actress and writer Issa Rae, creator of the YouTube comedy series “Awkward Black Girl;” political commentator and talk show host Tavis Smiley; and Octavia Spencer, who augments her career as an Academy Award winning actress by moonlighting as an author of children’s books featuring preteen sleuth and karate aficionado Randi Rhodes.

This list, while substantial, does not even begin to tap the people and venues on hand to ensure that the tastes of everyone in attendance will be met, Conroy notes.

“We’ll have more than 100 conversations on subjects ranging from the new California noir to digital privacy rights to the evolving American identity in the 21st century-something for everyone.”

For an event held annually, there is always the challenge of keeping its content fresh and relevant, as Conroy points out.

“The festival has evolved into a celebration of ideas and creativity as well as the written word in all its forms. Over the years, we’ve expanded our offerings to reflect this evolution, including the cooking stage, live music, Spanish language programming, Artist’s Row and even film screenings.”

“California is where America comes to see its future, so issues like drought and immigration are of vital importance to the region and the country as a whole. L.A. is a window to Asia and Latin America,” he says, alluding to the pervasive interest in multi-culturalism present on a global level, as well as nationally in the United States and of course in California and locally, where the world’s ethnicities merge to continually revitalize and reinvent American society.

“I doubt any of us could have imagined 10 years ago that the festival today would look like it does,” Conroy says. “Twenty years ago we had no idea what to expect and were floored when 50,000 people showed up. Every year we talk about new ways to push the envelope, what to add, and how to continue to make the festival a hotbed of creativity and inspire ideas,” Conroy says.

“The only thing I’m certain of is that five or 10 years from now the festival will still be what it is today: amazing.”