Penn State

AAUW prepares for 54th annual book sale at Penn State

Volunteer Ray Dinsmore helps to set up the housands of books for the AAUW Used Book Sale on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at the Snider Ag Arena.
Volunteer Ray Dinsmore helps to set up the housands of books for the AAUW Used Book Sale on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at the Snider Ag Arena. CDT photo

Reading is fundamental — and fortunately this weekend it also should be a bargain.

The American Association of University Women’s State College branch is holding its 54th annual used book sale at the Snider Agricultural Arena from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday.

Featuring more than 200,000 paperbacks and hardcovers, the sale is the culmination of a year’s worth of book donations by the local community, a collection as eclectic as it is vast.

“We couldn’t do it without this community. It is the most wonderful community,” said Suzanne Kerlin, publicist for the AAUW State College branch.

Even the spirit of generosity isn’t always light on its feet.

On Thursday evening, almost 160 volunteers carried 4,200 boxes of books from 18 trucks and unpacked them on what was probably an equally daunting number of tables.

“It’s a lot of hard work, especially lifting all of those boxes, but we all do it and enjoy it,” Kerlin said.

She believes in the mission of the AAUW, which uses advocacy, philanthropy, research and education to promote equity for women. Money from the sale will go toward grant programs and local education and library projects.

Work on this weekend’s sale began almost immediately after last year’s ended. More than 2,000 boxes of books were donated during last summer alone, all of which had to be scrutinized for poor quality or, even worse, mold.

“We’re known as a clean sale, which is a wonderful reputation to have,” Kerlin said.

That reputation has attracted book collectors and sellers both near and far. Kerlin said the sale will have a room of rare books featuring titles like a 1994 edition of Douglas Adams’ “More Than Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide.”

Finds like these are common, but never a guarantee. The sale is at the mercy of whatever is donated, an arrangement that always reveals some unexpected trends developing across local bookshelves.

Last year delved deeply into the woodworking genre while this weekend’s unofficial theme is highlighted by a broad collection of sailing literature.

It’s all a part of the fun of the sale.

“This weekend is the culmination of an awful lot of work and we really enjoy it,” Kerlin said.

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