You Can Never Have Too Many Books

Book sales are the closest  thing we have to heaven. /source: Emily Wright

Book sales are the closest thing we have to heaven. /source: Emily Wright

Article: Liam Fitz-Gerald

The Seniors University Group shows its love for literature


From September 5th until the 7th, there was a Big Book Sale at the University of Regina College Avenue Campus hosted by the Seniors University Group. The event, held in the Lifelong Learning Centre, had great books for very reasonable prices. Nobody will barter, or attempt to barter, with fifty cent paperbacks, $1 trade books and $2 paper backs. For $2, there were hardcover titles like Creation by Gore Vidal, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

For fifty cents, people could choose from a great selection of paperback books in fiction or non-fiction. From Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, to City of God by St Augustine to several books in the Twilight series, you name it, they probably have it.

There were plenty of books on philosophy and religion, and a large selection of self-help and cookbooks. There were also sports books to choose from as well.

On top of that, there were DVDs and CDs as well as a few large boxes of VHS tapes for sale.

The event took place in the Lifelong Learning Centre on the first and second floors. There were people of varying ages. Some people stumbled with all the books in their hands, others put them into free bags available and others just grabbed a box and put as many books as they could in them.

Leah O’Malley was on the hunt for gardening books, old cook books and philosophy.

“There is a huge selection and quality of books. There are two sections that could be improved, but it’s kind of indicative of people’s reading habits,” she said. She felt the philosophy section was rather small, and felt it was because of it being not so popular with readers.

A fellow named Kevin saw road signs on College Avenue and veered in to take part in the sale. He was looking for mystery and natural history books. He felt the book selection was “fantastic”

“If you like Patricia Cornwall, you could probably find every book she’s ever written here,” he said.

Ann Bishop was in charge of the Big Book Sale and talked about the event, saying that generous individuals have presented affordable books for others.

“In previous years and this year, it’s all donations from members of the Seniors University Group and Lifelong Learning Centre or individuals from the public. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without that,” she said.

She lavishes great praise on the volunteers who put in long hours to help put on the sale.

“Right now, we have over 700 volunteer hours already, and we’ll have more work after the sale to pack up.”

Bishop says that the success of the sale is rooted in the volunteers.

Alison Fizzard, a history professor at Campion College, was also looking for books at the event and credits the volunteers for organizing and cataloguing all of the books in a user-friendly manner, calling it “amazing.”

The influence for the book sale was fundraising.

“It’s the biggest fundraiser for the Lifelong Learning Centre, and the proceeds go to help with activities and make classes affordable.”

The event brought in over $9,000 last year. Bishop hopes to beat that number this year. A post-sale goes on and people can purchase a small number of books available until November in the College Campus lobby.

“When we’re done with the book sale, hundreds of books go to shelters and hospitals. We also have an agreement with Chief Justice [Robert] Richards who has taken it upon himself to distribute our books to the jails.”

Nothing will go to the dump, Bishop says, anything not taken or sold will be recycled.

Bishop feels the community could put more emphasis on reading.

“It seems to take the back seat in the school system these days. But we have a wonderful public library system that uses the money it gets from the city and other donations very well.”

Fizzard thinks that the number of people buying books still shows there is a market for them.

“Clearly, there’s still a market. Paperbacks are fifty cents. E-books are still expensive, plus not everything is out there for downloading,” she said.

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