Rotary Book Fair goes until Oct. 24

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The Tillsonburg Rotary Club’s annual book fair began Oct. 1 with a steady flow of customers through its first three days.

The location inside the Tillsonburg Town Centre mall has changed this year (follow the signs from the centre court).

But the biggest change has been extending the book fair to every Thursday to Saturday until Oct. 24, open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

“In previous years, Saturday has been the busiest day,” said Mike Donnelly, president of the Rotary Club of Tillsonburg, noting they typically have a special sale on the final day.

What makes the Rotary Book Fair unique is that while books are being sold, more books are always being added to the tables. As of the first Friday, they still had stock in boxes under the tables ready to be displayed, and another 30 to 35 per cent still in storage elsewhere.

“It always changes,” said John Lohuis, past-president and treasurer of the Tillsonburg Rotary.

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“We’ve also already had four or five deliveries of books from people today (Friday),” said Donnelly, “from people who have supported us in the past and are bringing books back.

“One thing we’ve noticed this year is that we’re getting more donations from Norfolk County,” said Donnelly. “And that makes the diversity of the books even more interesting.”

Many of the books are sorted by author, but because of the volume that can sometimes be a challenge.

“It’s just such a momentous task,” said Donnelly.

The majority of the books fall under the paperback and hard cover categories, but they also have areas for children’s books, puzzles, a massive collection of Harlequin romance books, CD movies and even VCR movies, young adult books, travel, cooking, gardening, sports, self help (DIY), religion, and crafting books.

“The hard covers are usually non-fiction but not always,” Lohuis noted.

Paperbacks are being sold at $1 each or five for $3. Hard covers are $3 each, or three for $5. Children’s books are 50 cents or three for $1. Puzzles and board games are $3 each or three for $5.

“Some of the Rotarians are sort of amateur librarians, so we try to sort them and get subject matter so that it’s presentable. What I’m doing now is sorting so that people can see the titles and the authors – instead of just a pile of books.”

Donnelly said people have mentioned because the Tillsonburg public library does not currently allow on-site browsing of book shelves, the book fair gives them an opportunity to do just that – within limits.

“We encourage people to do their browsing within a short period of time… 15 minutes,” said Lohuis, noting that due to COVID-19 restrictions they have a limitation on how many can be inside the venue at one time.

Book fair traffic has been steady so far, said Lohuis, but they have not had line-ups.

“The layout lends itself to lots of space.”

Funds raised go toward the annual Rotary donation of dictionaries to Grade 3 students in the area.

cabbott@postmedia.com