In the Media
The media coverage of this event has been exceptional. Sincere thanks to these partners for their interest and efforts on our behalf.
The 2019 Big Book Sale on CBC
2019 Interview with CTV News Regina
2018 Interview with CTV News Regina
Used book sale also builds community
LYNN GIESBRECHT, REGINA LEADER-POST
August 29, 2018
Regina’s annual The Big Book Sale put on by the Seniors’ University Group is a book-lover’s paradise, and for many of the event’s volunteers and visitors, the jaw-dropping number of books and community of other book enthusiasts keeps them coming back year after year. With an estimated 60,000 items, organizing The Big Book Sale is no easy task. Thousands of hours are put in by about 100 volunteers between July when the call for donations goes out and the end of August when the sale is held.
Walking into the Tartan Curling Club while setup is underway is like walking into a beehive. Volunteers come and go, moving among row upon row of tables with boxes of books in tow. “The volunteers are anxious to get started every July and some of them show up every day. They just love it,” said Bev Barlow, who has been volunteering at the sale for five years and is one of its seven co-ordinators.
“They’re a great group of friends. A lot of them are members of the Seniors’ University Group. A lot of them take classes at the Lifelong Learning Centre, but some are family members or friends.” New friendships are formed all the time through the book sale, said Barlow.
While promoting the event at a local farmer’s market, Barlow said she struck up a conversation with a woman she’d never met, who then volunteered to pick up a book donation from a lady in Grenfell. “She said, ‘I’ll go.’ And I said, ‘Why? It’s an hour and a half.’” But the woman wanted to help. She got in touch with the Grenfell book donor to arrange a pickup time, and both ladies agreed to meet halfway in Indian Head.
“They switched the books and then they went to the Indian Head Bakery for coffee and goodies, and I phoned the woman to thank her and she said, ‘Oh, that’s fine. I made a new friend,’” said Barlow.
Margo Embury, another co-ordinator, has been volunteering with the book sale for six years and appreciates the community feel. “It’s wonderful. People are here because they love books, but there’s also a big social aspect to it,” she said, as she stooped to help another volunteer shift boxes of books under a nearby table.
For volunteer June Petersen, it was love at first sight. “I was driving by the Lifelong Learning Centre about four or five years ago, saw the big sign that said Big Book Sale and I went in and I was hooked,” she said. She’s been volunteering at the sale since. “I work at the library, so I love books. It’s not work to me, it’s fun.”
Donors are also grateful to have a place where they can send their much-loved stories and know someone else will appreciate them.
“They’re so sorry to get rid of their books. They’re like friends, they don’t want to get rid of them, but they have no choice, so they bring them to us to be recycled to someone else who might love them,” said Barlow.
The sale has grown immensely over the past few years, starting with its move from a small location on the College Avenue Campus to the much larger Tartan Curling Club three years ago. Barlow said she noticed a growth in attendance after the building change because non-university people hadn’t always been comfortable on the College Avenue Campus, or thought the sale only sold textbooks.
This is not the case. From self-help to classics to science fiction to children’s stories, the sale’s tens of thousands of books has something for everyone. There are also CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, games and puzzles.
With so many items, the tables can’t hold everything at once, so throughout the sale volunteers go up and down the rows moving items from boxes under the tables to refill newly formed empty spots on top. “You could come morning and afternoon for three days and you’d be coming to a different sale every day,” said Barlow of the quick turnover. She said some dedicated bargain-hunters do just that, searching for a hidden gem.
Proceeds from the book sale go to support the Lifelong Learning Centre. Leftover books at the end of the sale are donated to about two dozen community organizations that need them, including The Book Project, which provides books to inmates in correctional facilities across the province.
All books are priced at $2 or less, with the exception of a few specialty books. DVDs are $2 and CDs are $1.
The Big Book Sale will take place this Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tartan Curling Club.
Big Book Sale Returns for Biggest Big Book Sale
By Greg Duck, External Relations, University of Regina
August 27, 2018
Since its inception in 2006, the annual Big Book Sale has grown from a small fundraiser with a few tables of books to five full curling rink sheets, packed with layers of books, DVDs, CDs, records, games, and puzzles. This year’s edition will run from Aug. 30 to Sep. 1 at the Tartan Curling Club, and figures to be the biggest yet.
“It has gotten bigger, and bigger, and now it’s the biggest it’s ever been,” says Bev Barlow, Promotions Coordinator for the Big Book Sale. Last year saw over 60,000 books come through the Tartan doors, and it looks like there could be even more this year. “We are seeing 50, 75, 100 people come through each day with donations. They just roll in one after another!”
The Big Book Sale is the major fundraiser for the Seniors’ University Group (SUG), an organization that promotes the value and availability of lifelong learning for older adults. Proceeds from the event are used to underwrite the cost of classes in the Lifelong Learning Centre, and to fund other community initiatives. Proceeds from the 2017 Big Book Sale enabled the SUG to donate $25,000 to the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project.
It takes about 100 volunteers working for a month to process, organize, and present all of the donations of items. Everything is precisely organized for easy access based on genre. The volunteers are also keen to help you look for that special author you collect, and will even help load purchases into your car.
After the sale is over, leftover books are donated to around two dozen community organizations based on their needs. The Book Project, a program that delivers reading materials to prisoners and helps to make a difference in the lives of inmates, is one of the recipients.
With changes to the current venue, organizers are looking for a new location for the Big Book Sale. “Perhaps it will be another curling rink, a warehouse, a school gym. We are watching. Talking to people. Anyone who has suggestions, feel free to reach out!” says Barlow.