Treasures among the books already given for sale

The books are piling up fast for this year’s Bookarama.

The Rotary Club of Oamaru began the official collection of its annual book sale last Monday, and volunteers have been busy sorting through all the donations, before the sale begins on May 23.

Bookarama manager Ele Ludemann said an incredible number of books have already been donated, including “absolute treasures”.

One of the “old and interesting” books the volunteers had found was a 140-year-old copy of The Family Friend. The book was presented to Eileen Cameron, for her “regular attendance” at Hampden School, with an inscription inside the cover dated December 22, 1882.

Mrs. Ludemann thought it was the oldest book ever given to Bookarama. It would be put up for special auction and Bookarama volunteers were trying to find out more about it.

Rotarians began settling in for Bookarama at the old Noel Leeming building in Thames St last Saturday, with the help of Old Boys rugby players, who had offered muscle power in the form of unloading and loading books from storage, for donation to the club.

“It’s a win-win – they help us, we help them,” she said.

The first day of accepting deposits was ‘utter chaos’, but Ms Ludemann enjoyed sorting through all the books and starting to organize them into categories ranging from ‘A for Animals’ to ‘W for Westerns’.

A “sheet test” was applied to the books to ensure they were of a certain standard, she said.

If sorters wouldn’t be comfortable reading a book in bed and having it touch their sheets, they wouldn’t sell it.

Some leftover books from previous events were kept for this year’s sale, while others were donated to local organizations, such as the Oamaru Churches Food Bank, the Oamaru Kindergartens Association, the Department of Corrections and Waitaki Resource Recovery Park. Rotarians also collected books for the Bookarama upon request throughout the year.

The Oamaru community has always been “very generous” with donations and support for the annual sale.

Even with the rise of e-books, Bookarama was still as popular as ever. Last year’s sale broke fundraising records, raising $40,000 for various local causes, including the new Waitaki Events Center and the Oamaru Public Gardens playground upgrade.

“It’s good that people of all ages are still reading real books,” she said.

Money raised from this year’s event would also go to the new Waitaki Event Center and other local causes.

“Everything comes from the community, and all the money we make goes back into the community in one way or another.”

Books can be dropped off at the sales premises between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Colin L. Johnson