Work for the Rotary Club of Oamaru’s annual Bookarama is a year-long process with people picking up books from donors at any time.
This year it included a house lot which took two SUV loads to shift. It was well worth the effort, I have never seen so many books of such good quality and variety from a single source in the more than 10 years I’ve been helping with the event.
Sorting began in April and the Old Boys’ Rugby Club moved books, tables, empty banana boxes and other paraphernalia into the venue – what used to be Noel Leeming’s on the town’s main street on April 30th.
Two days later a team of volunteers began the work of setting up and sorting donated books.
People were dropping books off every day and we had so many really good books we set up a table outside giving away the not so good ones.
We use the bed sheet rule when deciding what to keep and what to discard – if you wouldn’t feel comfortable with a book touching your sheets if you’re reading in bed it goes out.
Charity shops find they’re used as a dump and some boxes and bags always go straight to the skip. Often these would have been very salable had they not been stored in garages or sheds where they got dirty and damp.
There’s other books that are still clean and in good order but don’t sell including Readers’ Digest condensed books which we couldn’t even give away.
But there were plenty that would sell and some gems included this which had an inscription showing it was awarded as a Hampden School prize in 1882.
Also of historical interest was a Plunket mothercraft book from the 1950s.
It has a recipe for a supplement for breast milk which included cod liver oil and this photo:
It took three weeks of sorting, categorising and displaying to get ready for the sale.
People were queueing outside more than an hour before we opened the doors on the first morning.
By the end of the day we’d taken about $26,000, more than half the total for the whole sale last year and a remarkable sum given most books were selling for only $2.
We had planned to be open form Monday to Sunday but still had so many good books left we extended the sale to Friday.
It’s very much a case of from the community, by the community, for the community with people donating books, people buying books and all the people volunteering their time to sort and sell.
It took a team to do it but with $60,000ish taken and costs of about $5,000 we’ll have a good sum to donate to good causes.