Drop off books at Victoria Curling Club, 1952 Quadra St. on Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 3:30 pm The book sale is on May 14 and 15.
After a two-year partial hiatus, the Times Colonist book drive is back, with volunteers prepared for a busy weekend as people finally clean out their closets and bases of books that they would have donated annually, if not for the pandemic.
The drive-through book drop-off takes place from 9 am to 3:30 pm this Saturday and Sunday at the Victoria Curling Club, 1952 Quadra St.
One of the vehicles that will be in line will be a Last Minute Mover cube truck with about 600 books in 40 boxes, collected from residents of Somerset House.
“These are books residents have been donating to our library for the last two years,” said Mary Norton, the volunteer librarian at the retirement community on Dallas Road.
“We were able to check all the books to see that they are in good condition, with no textbooks, etc.”
Norton, 88, said that there are a lot of mystery books in the collection, some of them duplicates of the community’s 4,000-book library.
Instead of each resident using their own vehicle, she called the moving company to lower the amount of emissions and reduce traffic.
Aaron Mauger also has hundreds of titles that he is donating this weekend — all stored in a friend’s climate-controlled crawl space after a time in his bedroom.
He hasn’t actually counted how many books he is donating, but said he had 150 to 200 collected before COVID-19 hit.
He needs to donate them because he plans to purchase new books in two week’s time at the Times Colonist Book Sale, 9 am to 5 pm on May 14 and 15.
“I usually spend $300 a year — or more — buying books at the Times Colonist Book Sale. After I cycle through the books, I give them back so someone else can enjoy them,” said Mauger, 36.
“This year, there will be a lot of children’s books as my children phase them out in favor of young-adult titles.”
Mauger started attending the book sale when he was about 15 and has gone — save the past couple of years — every year.
His two children are just as passionate. His 10-year-old son (who has been to every sale since he was five) intends to pitch a tent at the entrance of the curling club the night before the sale so that he will be the first through the door the next day.
Father and son will pore over a map of the sale in advance and strategize which sections to hit first.
“He has a $100 price limit — but he may exceed that,” said Mauger, who is also volunteering for the first time this year.
“But the prices are hard to beat.”
KEY POINTS ABOUT BOOK DRIVE
What you need to know for the Times Colonist book drive:
All sorts of good-quality used books are accepted but no encyclopedias, textbooks, magazines, atlases, directories, Reader’s Digest condensed books gold National Geographics. These types of books don’t sell and organizers will have to pay to dispose of them. To speed up the unloading process, pack books in boxes and bags you don’t want back.
Go to the Victoria Curling Club parking lot. The entrance is off Pembroke Street (between Quadra and Blanshard). Please stay in your vehicle while volunteers unload your books. There is a separate drop-off box for pedestrians and cyclists at the entrance to the Victoria Curling Club, 1952 Quadra St.
• The event is organized by the Times Colonist Literacy Society, a non-profit that distributes the money raised from the event in the form of grants for school libraries and literacy organizations on Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. Despite no book sales in 2020 and 2021, two scaled-down drop-offs took place, with Russell Books buying all the donated books sight unseen.
• This spring 214 recipients, mostly schools on Vancouver Island, received literacy grants totaling almost $270,000. The book sale has raised more than $6 million for literacy-related programs since it began in 1998.