Turning over a new page

Volunteers Gail Syverson (left), Laura Carment (middle) and Colleen Hamilton (right) restock shelves at the annual Fall Canadian Federation of University Women Prince Albert fall book sale (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

CFUW pleased with book sale proceeds

Prince Albert hasn’t lost its love of reading.

That was clear to volunteers from the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Prince Albert over the last two weekends at the annual book sale.

The sale, while pops up in a storefront every year, features thousands of donated books sold for a donation to the CFUW. The proceeds from the sale are directed towards scholarships for young women attending post-secondary education in the fall. The book sale is the CFUW’s major fundraiser for the year.

“It’s fantastic. It’s been amazing, better than ever,” said Gail Syverson,

“The concern about people not reading books doesn’t seem to affect our sale.”

The CFUW set up in the old Deals Plus location in the South Hill Mall. Dozens of shelves were lined with used books, old and new, separated by author and subject. Non-fiction books stretched from lifestyle to sports to biographies and religion, while the fiction section included hundreds of authors, including some local ones.

One proud customer found a collection of poetry by John V. Hicks, the acclaimed Saskatchewan poet who moved to Prince Albert and is the namesake of the gallery in the Prince Albert Arts Centre. The collection was found amongst histories of the area and other tales from local writers collected on the “local interest” shelf.

By Saturday afternoon, the last of the four-day book sale, the shelves were picked over, books slumping over to fill the once-packed space between the bookends. “Most of the shelves were full,” Syverson said.

“We’ve sold a tremendous number of books, but we’ve also had huge donations of books brought in. We’re very pleased.”

All the books for sale are donated. Those that aren’t sold are stored at SHARE during the year. They’re also collected at SHARE, though the CFUW prefers people bring the books to donate to the beginning of the sale. According to the volunteers, on day one of this year’s sale, people were lining up to donate what they had.

“We couldn’t do it without SHARE,” Syverson said. “They bring a team of probably 15 helpers who haul those books in at the beginning of the sale, and at the end, haul them back. We also couldn’t do it without the volunteers who offer to help.”

Those volunteers come from the city’s service groups and friends and family. At least one student stopped by and offered their time.

A second student – one of the former scholarship recipients — also contributed, participating this year as a customer.

‘She said it was really, really helpful to her,” said Colleen Hamilton, another volunteer, as she bustled between shelves with armfuls of books.

The contributions from this year’s sale will help eight people pay for their schooling. The Prince Albert chapter of the CFUW will be giving out seven $700 scholarships to young women graduating from high school to attend post-secondary next year. This year, in celebration of the 100th year CFUW came into existence in Canada, the local chapter will also award a $1,000 scholarship to a mature woman who has been out of school for a period of time, and is going back.

“It used to be that we restricted it to the University of Saskatchewan, but now it’s any two-year program,” Syverson said.

“It’s quite accessible for students not necessarily going to university, but enrolled in a post-secondary program.”

Syverson paused to help a customer who was purchasing almost more books than she could hold. She found a card inside her used book.

Syverson remarked that you never know what you’ll find when you open a book.

As the customers came up to purchase their picks, they gave generously. Syverson and the other volunteers were blown away by how much each person gave as a donation to their scholarship fund.

“It’s really, really encouraging,” Syverson said.

“It’s exciting to think that people are so supportive. It’s amazing, the donations people give us. We’re very happy with these results.”