Support this year’s reduced Times Colonist book drive

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There won’t be a Times Colonist book sale this year – but there will be a scaled-down book collection this Sunday.

We had hoped to bring back The Times Colonist’s annual book collection and sale this summer, but the lingering impacts of COVID-19 have shattered those dreams. An event in which thousands of people line up to press shoulder to shoulder on tables of books is simply not on the agenda.

Nonetheless, we want to help school libraries and literacy projects on Vancouver Island which, every year since 1998, have come to rely on money raised through the newspaper’s charitable fundraiser. So we’re going to organize a modified version of the book drive, collecting donations ourselves but selling them through a third party.

We will be accepting books at a drive-through drop-off service at the Victoria Curling Club on Quadra Street this Sunday. Russell Books will then mass-buy the donations from the Times Colonist Literacy Society (a similar program last year saw the society write a check for $ 30,000) before reselling them in the store.

The point is, Russell’s just can’t handle the volume of donations that book drive normally brings. Even after donating thousands of books to the area’s small free libraries, there simply isn’t enough space to store them.

This is why we limit the deposit of books to one day only and ask readers to be judicious in what they give. Think about quality, not quantity. Please, no trucks full of books. As usual, we cannot accept encyclopedias, old textbooks, magazines, or Reader’s Digest books.

Our plan for Sunday is based on an extreme awareness of COVID-19 protocols. Health and safety are top priorities. Our team members have all been vaccinated, and will all have masks and gloves. They will work in bubbles to limit contact.

Disembarkation will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Victoria Curling Club, 1952, rue Quadra. Volunteers will direct traffic entering and exiting Pembroke Street (please do not enter or exit through Caledonia). If it looks like the queue is getting long on the main roads, please do some shopping and try again later. The mornings are generally the busiest.

When you arrive, stay in your vehicles. Place the books in bags or boxes at the back where volunteers can grab them and transfer them to caddies.

These carts will go to Russell Books staff, who will organize them on pallets in the curling club. The carts will be cleaned several times throughout the day.

Remember, this is just a stopgap. Our goal is to get back to a great collection of books and a big sale next spring.

© Colonist of the time of copyright

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