Volunteers vital to AAUW book sale

CDT photo

When a shipping roller fell on Charlie Miller’s foot, he jumped back, shook it off and went back to work.

There was no time to waste, he said.

Miller was one of about 250 volunteers Thursday afternoon who hauled boxes of books from the American Association of University Women2100 E. College Ave., to the Snider Agricultural Arena on the Penn State campus.

It was all for AAUW’s 53rd annual book sale beginning this weekend, the proceeds of which go toward local scholarships and educational programs primarily for women who are re-entering the workforce, said Nancy Eberly, co-chairwoman.

AAUW is a national organization that works to advance equity for women through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

This week, volunteers set up the shipping rollers from the entrance of the AAUW to the back of a moving truck, and Miller was one of a few who launched the boxes down it.

Steve Weinreb, of State College, spent his time at the arena spreading out books by category on tables.

Wayne Detwiler used to be a “lifter and mover,” he said. Now, after 38 years of volunteering, he’s strictly a delivery driver.

“I remember when there was a warehouse located at West Aaron Drive, and we’d be doing this,” he said.

Detwiler became involved after his sons, who are now in their 40s, would volunteer as Boy Scouts, and his wife, Kathy, a retired State College Area High School math teacher, became an AAUW member.

“Each year, you’re amazed at all the boxes of books that come in,” he said.

Moving trucks delivered more than 200,000 books.

Those numbers are up from last year’s event after Penn State’s English and communications departments donated about 3,000 books in January, Eberly said.

Community members and other organizations donated all other books to the AAUW.

“The public response is incredible,” Eberly said. “When we get here sometimes, there are boxes of books waiting for us, and it’s our job to sort them.”

She called the sale a “clean book sale” — meaning the group only sells books that are in “like-new” condition. Books that are damaged or inappropriate are recycled.

The sale annually attracts about 8,000 people, Eberly added.

This year, the AAUW hopes to break last year’s fundraising total of $140,000, Eberly said.

The AAUW is no longer accepting books, but it will start collecting them again June 20 for next year’s book sale, Eberly said.

During the summer, a group of volunteers will work to sort all donated books at its facility on East College Avenue, Eberly added.

She said that the AAUW also is looking for a new facility that is more easily accessible for its volunteers and members.

The current location is on a small hill that makes it hard to access for the group’s older members, Eberly said.