by Amalia P. Spagnolo
More than a passion for booklovers, paper books are regarded as almost sacred. Old books are never discarded; they are cherished and shared. Popular author Christopher Paolini noted, “Books should go where they will be most appreciated and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf.”
This weekend, the Hibbing chapter of the AAUW (American Association of University Women) holds its 44th annual Book Sale at the Minnesota National Guard Armory in Hibbing. The three-day sale will take place Friday, Jan. 31 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Saturday, Feb. 1 (9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) and Sunday, Feb. 2 (11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Bestsellers will be sold for $2 each on Friday and Saturday. Other books are priced at $1 each on Friday, $.50 each on Saturday and $1.50 per bag on Sunday. The Armory is located in Hibbing at 310 Brooklyn Drive, across Hwy. 169 and opposite from Hibbing Community College (HCC).
Founded in Boston in 1881, the AAUW is a nonprofit organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Interested persons who hold Associate and Bachelor degrees and advanced degrees are welcome to join. The 76-member Hibbing AAUW chapter also invites new members. Celebrating its ninth decade of existence, the Hibbing AAUW also marks a milestone for its greatly anticipated book sale.
“This sale has been around for almost 45 years,” noted book sale chairperson Barb Wojciak. The book sale’s proceeds fund scholarships for “Future Collegians” from the Nashwauk-Keewatin, Hibbing and Chisholm high schools and HCC, as well as AAUW national fellowships. Scholarship award recipients are chosen based on academic achievement and leadership, as well as extracurricular participation and community involvement.
Marveling at the sheer volume of books available at this year’s sale, Wojciak said, “You would not believe how many books—many more than last year.” Thousands of books are supplied by community members who donate “their books and are very generous.” In many instances, book sale purchasers re-donate the books they’d bought the previous year. She noted, “It’s a win-win situation,” adding, “There aren’t a lot of businesses where you have someone buy something and donate it back the next year.”
Wojciak estimated that approximately 50,000 books will be available for purchase. “They’re sorted into categories, such as Romance (“Lots of Harlequin books”), Mystery, History, Children’s, Westerns, Religion and so on,” she stated. “We even have many ‘Treasures from the Attic’ for sale, which are beautiful, old precious books.”
Prospective buyers can look forward to virtually every book category being represented at the Hibbing Armory event. Remarking on how well organized the sale is, Wojciak said, “If people need something in particular, they’re very likely to find it.”
On behalf of the Hibbing AAUW, Wojciak thanked the Armory sergeants in Hibbing. They were “excellent” in providing the large space required for a book sale of its size as well as other assistance. “This will be the second year at the Hibbing National Guard Armory,” she noted. “We’d really like to thank them and the Hibbing Community College Engineering Club and Hibbing High School Key Club for all the help they give.”
In addition to thanking all of the volunteers, Wojciak noted the quantity, quality and the value that her fellow booklovers appreciate. “The wonderful thing about the book sale is that people can purchase fabulous books for very little money,” she said. “People go out with cartloads of books.”
Book buyers have come from as far away as Wisconsin, the Twin Cities and Brainerd. Year after year, perusers and purchasers from all over the region often come for all three days of the sale. “Some even take off work on Friday to come to the sale,” Wojciak observed.
The book sale appeals to readers of all ages, including families with children and teachers with students. “It’s wonderful to watch people showing each other the books they read when they were younger and picking out and comparing the books that they really like now,” she said.
Although people enjoy reading their Kindles when they travel, according to Wojciak, booklovers still tend to prefer “real books” over e-books because they like “just being able to hold the book and to look back in the book.” She echoed what book buyers have repeatedly told her about their passion for physical books: “They just like to own their books and to hold them as they read. They will still purchase books that they can have and own.”
For information about the Hibbing AAUW Book sale, call 218/340-2639. To learn more about joining the Hibbing AAUW, call 218/966-2566.