‘If you love books, this is the place to be’

Times Colonist - - Front Page - LOUISE DICK­SON ldick­son@times­colonist.com

As a child, Jane Mertz used a flash­light to read books late at night un­der bed­cov­ers.

“I can’t imag­ine not be­ing able to read,” said Mertz, who has vol­un­teered at the Times Colonist book sale for 14 years to sup­port ed­u­ca­tion and lit­er­acy in our com­mu­nity.

“And I can’t imag­ine be­ing an adult and not be­ing about to fig­ure out how to fill out a form.”

A copy of The Rosie Project was tucked un­der Mertz’s arm as she stood be­tween the rows of empty tables set up in the Vic­to­ria Curl­ing Club for the Times Colonist’s 20th an­nual book drive.

We’re ask­ing you to help fill those tables by do­nat­ing good qual­ity, used books at our drive-through book drop-off Sat­ur­day and Sun­day from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No need to get out of your car.

Since 1998, the peo­ple who donate, vol­un­teer and shop at the book sale have raised $4.7 mil­lion — in­clud­ing $1.8 mil­lion in match­ing funds from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment through De­coda Lit­er­acy So­lu­tions. The money has been dis­trib­uted to schools and non­prof­its do­ing lit­er­acy work on Van­cou­ver Is­land.

This year, we handed out $272,000 to more than 160 lit­er­acy or­ga­ni­za­tions and schools.

“If you love books, this is the place to be,” Mertz said. “The vol­un­teers are great. It’s amaz­ing how many come back ev­ery year. We talk books for 2 1⁄2 weeks. It doesn’t get any bet­ter.”

Sue Siluch started vol­un­teer­ing seven years ago af­ter com­ing to the book sale to buy books.

“I’m al­ways look­ing for vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties and this seemed like a lot of fun. Part of the fun is shop­ping while you work,” said Siluch, who bought 60 books last year.

Penny Heath has vol­un­teered in the chil­dren’s book sec­tion for the last 14 years.

“I have a firm be­lief in the cause of lit­er­acy,” Heath said.

“I also keep com­ing back be­cause of the vol­un­teers. They are the most amaz­ing group of peo­ple you will ever meet.”

It’s a vol­un­teer-driven event. If you would like to help out, par­tic­u­larly with a bit of the heavy lift­ing on the col­lec­tion week­end, please con­tact Bruce Cousins at bcousins@times­colonist.com.

Vol­un­teer Jack Guthrie sorts through books at the Vic­to­ria Curl­ing Club on Thurs­day.

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