The benefits of giving back are always awesome, but the CBC Calgary Reads annual book sale is a unique opportunity to volunteer and reap the rewards of early VIP access to all the books pre-sale, all while supporting early literacy initiatives.
Thursday night I poured over the very well organized stacks filling the Calgary Curling Club at the Spread the Words event, inhaling the musty goodness, deciphering inscriptions on inside covers and shaking out artifacts pressed between pages.
My sister, pictured above, despises vintage clothing but for books - she'll make an exception.
Despite the crowds the whole event was relatively calm, you could tell it was catered to the introverted bookworm with a band playing acoustic versions of Paul Simon songs on a stage tucked away and everyone falling silent once the hunt for books overtook them hungry for stories, scrutinizing covers and shifting minimalist armloads into heavier load bearing bags and boxes.
I surfaced and found my sister in the biography section after I had sorted and culled many short story anthologies and other titles that had been on my list forever. Gems like Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" and even the very new and notable "Birds Art Life" by Kyo Maclear.
I scooped up 14 new reads (one of their posters made a fair point - if you haven't read a book yet it is new) all for $2 - $4 a piece and if that wasn't incentive enough - all the proceeds went to supporting Calgary Reads youth literacy programs. So I get affordable and amazing books and kids get to learn and discover the joy of reading - everybody wins!
I spent Saturday afternoon volunteering, relocating lost books to their proper temporary home - sci-fi books I'd never heard of stranded in the Canadian History section and so on, chatting books and authors and being blown away by all the wonderful readers I didn't know existed in Calgary.
I first found out about Calgary Reads at an event back in October at The Globe Cinema called "SCREENAGERS - Growing Up in the Digital Age" the film won Best Social Impact Documentary at the Stony Brook Film Festival, and the panel discussion afterward showcased many bright local minds among them Steacy Collyer, Executive Director of Calgary Reads who spoke passionately about her own love of books and her advocacy in getting kids reading early - and for life.
Reading remains my greatest love, favorite escape and informer. I still think one of the best gifts my hardworking parents ever gave me was regular trips to our public libraries no matter where we lived.
Books mean democratizing education and experience. I'm still excited leaving Memorial Park library with armloads of free resources - tomes that contain entirely other worlds, all of which I can be transported to from the comfort of well, anywhere.
Learning a charitable organization existed to do just that - foster the love and benefits of reading and literacy for a lifetime, I knew I had to find a way to get on board.
If you missed it this year, there's always next time - it remains Calgary Read's largest annual fundraiser. Unsold books find homes in Little Free Libraries that pop up around the community. To donate your books and learn about volunteering opportunities year round visit their site and learn about ways to give toward early literacy initiatives.
Me in book heaven.