15 May 2024

From rare finds to literary treasures: Bibliophile's paradise unveiled at Riverina's largest book fair

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Wagga Wagga Showground will have more than 50,000 books on offer at the Wagga Rotary Book Fair this weekend.

Wagga Wagga Showground will have more than 50,000 books on offer at the Wagga Rotary Book Fair this weekend. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Calling all bibliomaniacs – prepare to leaf through tens of thousands of books at this weekend’s annual book fair.

The Kyeamba Smith Hall at the Wagga Wagga Showground will be transformed into a bibliophile’s paradise for the Wagga Rotary Book Fair.

Booklovers will have a chance to pick through and purchase many fiction and non-fiction books in genres ranging from children’s literature to romance novels and everything in between.

The book fair has a large number of good quality jigsaws, a wide variety of vinyl records, CDs and DVDs, sheet music, texts and references, and old, rare, and collectible items for sale. This year may be the last time the book fair has CDs and DVDs on offer.

One of the Wagga Rotary Book Fair coordinators, Vicky Donoghue, said she was looking forward to this year’s fair.

“I’m very excited because our stock is absolutely amazing,” Vicky said. “People have donated fabulous books.

“We’ve got first edition books that are 100 years old and all sorts of old collectible, interesting things — they are specially priced.

“We’ve got a quite rare copy of the first edition of Ginger Meggs and a number of Henry Lawson.”

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Rotary also received a large donation of books that will attract the attention of car enthusiasts.

Vicky said Rotary expected at least 3000 people to enter the fair’s doors.

“Up to 60 per cent of the books are fiction. We’ve got all the current authors,” she said.

“It looks like people have read the book once and donated it to us. It’s like buying a new book.”

Visitors can fill an eco-bag for $50 with books of their choice.

The fair effectively recycles a large quantity of material and encourages reading and literacy within the community.

Vicky said the upcoming book fair preparations were “going well”.

“Every week, we sort an enormous number of books, and we closed our donations last week,” she said. “We are down here at the warehouse sorting everything that’s come in late because people keep giving us books. That’s been overwhelming.

“A number of other Rotary clubs and other service organisations come and lend us manpower, which is great.

“It’s a whole community thing driven by our club and a good way of doing recycling service.”

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Vicky said books were donated back to Rotary again and again, in the bags people had purchased.

“It’s good to see they (books) find a home several times, and the community benefits several times from lots of books.”

Rotary will allocate the funds collected from the fair to different Rotary-run projects throughout the year.

The club supports several local organisations and participates in domestic programs related to homelessness and youth development and overseas programs to enhance health and education.

Rotary raised $65,000 from last year’s book fair.

The Wagga Rotary Book Fair is on Saturday 18 May, from 8 am to 5 pm and Sunday 19 May from 9 am to 3 pm at Kyeamba Smith Hall, Wagga Showground. Entry to the fair is $2 for adults.

For inquiries about donations for next year’s fair, contact Rotary.

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