After pandemic hiatus, St. Louis-area used-book sales rebound with bargains for bibliophiles | Books

The bibliophiles of Saint-Louis are going to experience an exciting summer. After a year of the pandemic shutting down most major gatherings, readers can stock up on books at four major sales returning this month.

Events kick off this weekend with the Friends of the City and County of St. Charles Library Book Fair, August 6-8 at Family Arena. The volunteer organization dedicated to supporting and funding the library has been running the fair since 1988, when the event started with 10,000 books under a tent in the library parking lot.

The fair has grown to include more than 250 000 items. Beyond books, the sale includes DVDs, CDs and even cake pans (surplus loan program of the library).

The cancellation of last year’s event was the first in the event’s history, and many books for this year’s fair were collected last year, says Jan Bardon, head of marketing and library communications. But “people just can’t wait” this weekend, she says. “We have 900 volunteer spots, and they were filled in 24 hours.”

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“Many of these volunteers work year-round sorting books,” she says. “Some have been working there for 30 years.”

Bardon has even received calls from eager out-of-state buyers who follow Sales primarily benefit the library’s Summer Challenge reading program, paying prizes ranging from a Nintendo Switch to coffee mugs.

In 2019, the sale brought in some $100,000, with the money also helping fund the construction of new branches, furniture and equipment for existing libraries and monthly book clubs, Bardon says.

“It’s super organized: there are more than 30 different categories,” she says. “It’s really easy to find what you’re looking for.”

Organizers of another big annual sale, the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, Aug. 12-15, say it’s the largest charity book fair in the Midwest. The sale will include more than one million items – hardback and hardback books and other media, as well as rare and collectible items, including first editions, antiques and copies signed by the author.

The goal of the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, which began in 1950, is to improve the community through increased youth literacy and support for local charities. Grantees – primarily literacy groups – are chosen through a grant application process. In the past, the fair has supported groups such as the Home Works Teachers’ Home Visiting Program, Books for Newborns and the Southside Early Childhood Education Center.

Across the river, another long-running sale is benefiting Memorial Hospitals in Belleville and Shiloh. Touting some 60,000 items, the Book Bazaar will be held August 11-13 at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds and Exhibition Center. Like other sales, the final day is full of bargains: a box of books is just $3, with two boxes for $5.

The J’s Used Book Sale, which is usually a semi-annual event, returns August 22-26 at the Jewish Community Center. The sale includes thousands of titles across all genres, as well as records, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.

After the $10 preview day, admission is free; on August 26, visitors can fill a bag for $5. Proceeds from the sale benefit the J’s cultural programs, including the Jewish Book Festival and the Jewish Film Festival.

An annual book fair will not return this year: the YMCA sale, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic. Last year would have been the 42nd annual sale.

Run by hundreds of volunteers, the fair has raised some $2.6 million for literacy and other programs over its four decades, says Caroline Mitchell, the organization’s executive director of community development.

But last year the group decided to sell its old Carondelet building, which housed books, CDs, DVDs and other donations during the year. Earlier this year, volunteers were told the book fair would not continue, Mitchell said.

“The Y has reallocated other funding resources to ensure programs historically funded by the book fair can continue successfully,” she said by email. “We continue to deliver the literacy programs supported by this event, thanks to the volunteers who provide tutoring and the generous donors who support our philanthropic work. We also receive support through grants and other funding sources.

Jane Henderson of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

What Friends of the City of St. Charles County Library Book Fair • When 9 a.m. to noon on August 6 (Friends members only); 12 p.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 6, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 8 Where Family Arena, 2002 Arena Parkway, St. Charles • How much FREE ENTRANCE • More information

What Memorial Hospital Auxiliary 62nd Book Bazaar • When 9am-7pm August 11-12, 9am-2pm August 13 • Where Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, 200 South Belt East, Belleville • How much $5 on August 11; free admission on other days; parking is free • More information

What Greater Saint-Louis Book Fair • When 4 p.m.-9 p.m. August 12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. August 13-14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. August 15 • Where WC Kennedy Recreation Center, 6050 Wells Road • How much $10 on August 12; free admission on other days • More information

What JCC Used Book Sale • When 10am-4pm Aug 22 (Preview), 10am-7pm Aug 23-25, 10am-6pm Aug 26 • Where Jewish Community Center Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Drive • How much $10 on August 22; free admission on other days • More information

Friday, May 27, 2022


Friday, May 27, 2022