Treasures to be found at AAUW Used Book Sale

Customers browse in the hobbies section of the 2016 AAUW Used Book Sale at the Snider Agricultural Arena.
Customers browse in the hobbies section of the 2016 AAUW Used Book Sale at the Snider Agricultural Arena. Centre Daily Times, file

The AAUW of State College will hold its 56th annual Used Book Sale starting Saturday in the Snider Agricultural Arena on Penn State’s campus.

The sale is the result of generous donations of books from the community. AAUW State College members have worked since July — when it moved into its new facility in the Boalsburg Technology Park — sorting and pricing the books. This weekend, they will be joined by dozens of community members who volunteer for the four-day sale.

With more than 250,000 books for sale, the State College AAUW Used Book Sale is one of the largest on the East Coast and attracts dealers and private patrons from as far away as Maine, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, New York and Ohio. Last year, more than 8,000 people took advantage of the bargains.

“Shoppers tend to come in heavy numbers at the beginning of the sale, but we can assure them that there will still be plenty of wonderful books to choose from later in the day, and on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, as well,” said Connie Schroeder, who is on the publicity team for the used book sale.

The books are culled, sorted, priced and packed throughout the year by volunteers who discard damaged, highlighted and out-of-date books. More than 250 volunteers transport the books from the AAUW’s donation center to the Ag Arena and set up for the sale.

The books are priced to sell, and this year’s selection, sorted into 30 categories and displayed on 250 tables, represents a high quality of books. The selection includes children’s books, fiction, biographies, hobbies, history, mysteries and more.

The book sale is the economic engine that supports the AAUW mission to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Almost all the sale proceeds are distributed locally, through community grants to local organizations that reflect the AAUW mission, and scholarships for local returning adult women students.

“The sale has grown fairly consistently over its 56-year history, and we attribute that to our reputation for a really broad selection of well-priced, quality books, and people wanting to help a great cause,” Schroeder said.

This year, volunteers will monitor numbers at the door to follow regulations that state no more than 450 people can be in the building at one time.

“But we have a great team of volunteers working the sale,” AAUW Co-President Alison Franklin said. “I’m sure that while we have some additional challenges, we will figure out the best way to work through them.”

The 2016 book sale was a high water mark for the AAUW, taking in more than $150,000.

“We have numerous book dealers that attend our sale and arrive very early on Saturday morning to place a box in line outside the front door to hold their spot,” Franklin said. “Everyone wants to be the first in the door to get the best books. Last year, our largest single sale ever was to a book dealer from Aliquippa for the amount of $3,196.50.”

The fact that the second day of the sale is Mother’s Day is considered by many to be a plus.

“Many shoppers tell us that they enjoy bringing their mothers to the sale,” Schroeder said. “And for those who can’t make it over the weekend, Monday and Tuesday offer great values: all books are half-price on Monday, and on Tuesday shoppers can fill their own cloth grocery bag for $7.”

Donations for the 2018 Used Book Sale will begin on June 17 and continue through late winter.


  • What: AAUW State College Used Book Sale
  • When: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday-Tuesday
  • Where: Snider Agricultural Arena, 800 E. Park Ave., State College
  • Info: www.aauwstatecollege.org