Next Book Sales will take place:
Fall 2017 – October 14th and 15th
Location: Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum
Our major fundraisers in support of Symphony Nova Scotia, the NS Youth Orchestra etc; are our Giant Book Sales. We are very proud to tell you that our first book sale was in 1962 so we have been holding them for over 50 years. Currently, we hold two book sales each year, these take place in the Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum, where for two days each spring and fall we have well over fourteen thousand gently-used books for sale, along with some CDs and DVDs. All books have been priced and sorted into over 30 different categories including Classics, Fiction, non-Fiction, Rare & Collectable, Art & Music, Mystery, Science Fiction, History, Poetry, Plays, Children & Youth, etc.
In the past we have held events such as Fashion Shows, Tea and Sales, Antique Road Shows and raffles.
History of our Book Sales
The first book sale was held in the autumn of 1962, and was held in “the mall”. Each member was expected to donate at least 10 books. A gratifying number of books were sold and “netted a considerable amount”. Due to this success, we went full steam ahead. At least 3000 books were sorted at the Admiralty House, then transported free of charge to “the mall” for Friday and Saturday sales. By 1965, newspaper advertisements were paid for every three months asking for the public to make donations of used books. There was an overwhelming response, so an ad was placed after the show to thank the public for contributing books. Each year, these sales netted app. $1500.00. There was a great deal of newspaper publicity, alerting the public to the “giant book sale” coming up. Apparently, the crowds were huge. During those early years two intrepid women drove all over the province, as far as 100 or more miles one way, in order to pick up books. They did this throughout the year, at no cost to the organization. That is a tremendous contribution.
By the mid-1970s, more than $2500.00 was raised at each sale. Costs were extremely low, because Maritime Moving and Warehousing provided the transport and labor free of charge. Also, the tables were loaned. In 1976 there were 191 cartons with app. 9,000 volumes available for sale. By this time, it was customary to give reimbursement for mileage costs to the people who did the collecting of the books.
Every year since then, book sales have been held for two days each autumn. For a couple of years at least, they were held on Thursday and Friday, as the mall assured them larger crowds would be present. For the last several years the sales were held at the Halifax Shopping Center, on Wednesday and Thursday. More than 200 cartons are made available for sale. Sales have been good, netting $3500.00 to $4000.00. We do not, however, get the tremendous crowds that used to attend these events. As I pointed out earlier, the book sale nearly got canceled in 1993, due to a lack of available workers. There has been an impressive record of long time service on the part of the chairs of this committee. We now have a large, dedicated committee which picks up and sorts books throughout most of the year. Indeed, they reportedly have a jolly good time.
It is noteworthy to mention the venues of the book sorting and storage. A navy wife, Helen Nixon, first suggested that we try a book sale. Although the group was skeptical, they agreed to try. The first book sorting and storage depot was at the Admiralty House at Stadacona Base. Since then, other sites have been Willow Park, the Municipal building on Dutch Village Road, the Stairs building at Dal, then the 3rd floor of the Dal building at the corner of LeMarchant and Coburg Roads. Mary Arneaud told me of returning directly after a book sale, climbing up numerous stairs with left-over books, only to discover that a class was in progress in “their” room. They had been evicted without notice. Fran Tyrell got them space in the basement of the Halifax Schools Music Department on Chebucto Road. After several years in the cold and damp, there followed a move to St. Francis School, where the committee thought they “had died and gone to heaven, it was so nice”. After a brief stay there, moves to two different sites at Queen Elizabeth High School followed. Over the years, the committees have proved to be flexible and of good humor.
This history is taken from the 50th anniversary address by Anne Yanofsky November 2001