Armidale Central Rotary’s annual book fair, to be held on May 13 – 20 at the Armidale Racecourse on Barney Street opposite The Armidale School, is celebrating 25 years this year.
Held every year in May, the annual book fair raises funds by selling donated second-hand books. The very first book sale that Armidale Central held was at Lazenby Hall in 1998. It is the longest, continuous running second-hand book sale in the New England and North-West NSW region, attracting not just avid book lovers, but also second-hand bookstore owners from as far as Newcastle and the Queensland border.
Book prices range from $1-$3 depending on format and category. Rare and highly desired books – those that are very old or very expensive – will be sold upstairs and priced individually.
It’s not just books, either. The Armidale Central Rotary’s bookfair also sells used magazines, CDs, DVDs, and even board games.
Over the past 24 years, Armidale Central Rotary has raised $940,000. With the exception of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the club has broken sales records every year for the past 10 years. Their goal for 2023 is to reach a total of 1 million dollars raised. All of this money goes towards various charities, schools, and organisations in need of assistance, both local and international.
In previous years, Armidale Central Rotary has advertised the book fair at busy thoroughfares around town. Unfortunately, this year the Armidale Regional Council has removed some of those signs to remove distractions for drivers. The council provided alternative locations for signage to be posted.
Prior to 2014 all books donated to the club were stored and sorted in club stalwart and instigator of the Book Fair, Ces Spencer’s garage. In 2013 the Armidale Jockey Club leased Armidale Central Rotary Club some land on the corner of Canambe and Dumaresq Streets where club members built the Rotary Bookshed, named in honour of Ces Spencer, who died shortly before its opening.
Now the books shed is a hive of activity every Monday and Friday morning where all the donated books, CDs, DVDs, LPs and board games are sorted, packed and stored for the annual sale in May. Often the big, yellow book bin, into which people deposit their books has to be emptied four times a week because of the generosity of the local community.
Donations are always being accepted, so if you have any preloved books that are looking for new homes you can drop them off at the yellow book bin on the corner of Dumaresq and Canambe streets in Armidale.
You can find more information about the club, as well as how to be involved, at their website: https://armidalecentralrotary.org.au/
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