Thursday, February 29, 2024
February 29, 2024

Books & Bling drop-off days Nov. 17 to 20; sale on Nov. 25-27

Pages are turning on one of Salt Spring Island’s most popular events, with Books & Bling donation drop-off days at the Farmers’ Institute this week from Nov. 17 to 20 and the sale itself on Nov. 25-27.

Mary Rose MacLachlan is a Salt Spring Literacy board member and coordinating the donation part of the book sale this year. This is the second year that books will be accepted for the sale in a four-day period the week before, rather than at specific year-round donation events, or bins in financial institutions as happened in years past.

While the amount of work is extra-concentrated with the new method, a phenomenal number of quality books were collected in 2021 and committee members felt it was the preferred way to go.

“I think it worked well, for a few reasons,” said MacLachlan. “Everything was compressed, so it was kind of exhausting, because you had that intense two weeks. But you also didn’t have to keep finding volunteers throughout the summer and fall to collect and sort books.”

(The group has continued to do some home visits for estates or people who are moving when it seems excellent books could be missed if the opportunity is not taken.)

Jewellery can also be dropped off at the same time as the books, although it will be saved for next year’s sale as it takes more time to sort, clean, repair and price jewellery donations, explained Bling committee co-chair Pat Campbell. She and co-chair Wendy Vine have 44 helpers. Bling volunteers have held a number of work bees to process donated jewellery for the 2022 sale and take shifts for set-up and sale days.

Campbell said the sale will have even more jewellery to offer than at the previous six sales, from vintage to costume to designer pieces, as well as precious gems.

“We’ve never had this much jewellery. The community’s been really really generous this year. It’s been unbelievable,” she said.

One example of generosity is a woman who donated all of her mother’s and grandmother’s Birks-quality jewellery, with pieces worth $200 to $300 each.

“If you like pearls we have oodles and oodles of pearls, and we still have a large selection of jewellery donated from the former Frankly Scarlet store,” Campbell said.

There’s a teen and kids’ table, bags of beads for crafters, watches and something for everyone on a Christmas list. Tables are constantly refreshed with new stock throughout the event’s three days.

While the sale has a number of valuable diamond and sapphire rings and earrings this year, Campbell said most of the jewellery is costume jewellery, with prices starting at $2.

Affordability is also a hallmark of the book sale, as MacLachlan explains.

“Where else are you going to get books for a dollar — 50 cents still for the children’s books — or two or three dollars?” she asked. “Even in a secondhand bookstore, you’re not going to find that. And many of them are in such good condition.”

Every imaginable category of book is available and displayed in clearly labelled sections.

MacLachlan is like many bibliophiles who use the sale almost as a “lending library” with a small cost attached.

“I’ll buy about 30 books,” she said. “And then some of them I don’t end up keeping, I just donate them back to the sale again next year.”

“If there’s an author that I’ve never read before, but the book looks interesting, it’s going to cost me $2 to read that book, and it’s going to a good cause, so then why not buy it?”

For real bargain hunters, purchases are made by donation for the last three hours of the sale on Sunday, Nov. 27 from noon to 3 p.m.

Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 25-26 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 27th.

One of the thrilling parts of Books & Bling is the treasures that are found; either that perfect piece of jewellery or a unique book.

“You can find some real gems,” said MacLachlan. “There are books in the specials section that are either potentially first editions, or just really cool books that have been out of print but are in great condition.”

Volunteers for collection, set-up and sale days are welcomed for the book sale. See the website for sign-up information.

The book sale was established by the former Salt Spring Community Education Society in 2007, and that group passed the torch to Salt Spring Literacy in 2013. The jewellery sale was added in 2015.

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