Those extra books stored up in homes around the region can once again help the Times Colonist make a difference to schools and literacy groups.
Preparation is underway for the 15th annual Times Colonist book sale, set for May 12 and 13 at the Victoria Curling Club. This will be the third year organizers of the sale have secured the Quadra Street facility for the bustling event, which routinely attracts huge crowds to pore over aisles of donated books.
But there is plenty to do before sale day, most importantly the staging of the book-collection blitz on the April 28-29 weekend.
Last years sale generated $155,000, said Times Colonist promotions manager Shannon Kowalko. As many as 250,000 books were carefully sorted and stocked by a team of 300 volunteers.
The book sale dates back to 1998, when it was held to help a local school stock the shelves of its library. The sale has grown steadily and attracted a consistently large following in the years since, with the 2011 version bringing out more than 3,400 people on Saturday alone.
In recent years, book enthusiasts have taken to lining up for the sale hours before it gets going. The first person in line in 2011 showed up at 3:15 a.m. in anticipation of the sales 9 a.m. start, and the queue extended around the block by the time the doors swung open.
Over $1.5 million has been raised for by the book sale since it began.
It all goes to literacy programs in our community, said Kowalko. Funds are given out through the Times Colonist Raise-a-Reader program.
When the money from the sale was combined with funds from other initiatives and some matching grants from the provincial government, over $350,000 was disbursed to 159 recipients in 2011, she said. Those included school districts around the Island, and such groups as the Victoria READ Society, Literacy Victoria, Saanich Neighbourhood Place and Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services.
As always, organizers have a few suggestions about what not to bring when donating books. Those include National Geographic, Readers Digest, encyclopedias, text books and outdated reference material.
Books can be brought to the Victoria Curling Club parking lot from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on both April 28 and 29. Donors are asked to stay in their cars for faster unloading by volunteers, and to pack books in boxes or other containers they do not want back. Anyone interested in volunteering at the book sale is asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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