Hunting through the stacks for Kingston Symphony

Kingston Symphony Volunteer’s conduct annual book sale Sept. 7 to 17

Image by: Herbert Wang
There are over 40 genres of books to explore at the 2023 annual book sale.

The Kingston Symphony book fair has fiction and non-fiction texts for everyone this week.

The Kingston Symphony volunteer group is hosting its annual book fair from Sept. 7 to 17 at 785 Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd. The event offers free admission after Sept. 7 and contains over 40 genres of books. The group supports the Kingston Symphony Association and organizes various events to promote music education. Book donations for the current book fair began in January.

“[The book fair] helps the volunteer group financially, and to some extent, we [the volunteers] aren’t a large part, but we do our best,” said Elizabeth Andrews, M.Ed. ’85 and Co-Chair of the book fair in an interview with The Journal.

According to Andrews, the annual book fair brings in around $30,000 in proceeds over the 10 days it’s open. The volunteers advertise the event with posters taped across the Kingston area to gain a large reach for those interested in the event.

The most popular genres at the fair are mystery, Canadiana, cooking, and DIY. Andrews thinks the event would appeal to Queen’s students because they offer texts in sociology, philosophy, psychology, education, and literature.

If students arrive early enough, they have a variety of textbooks for different courses, a cheap way to meet their reading list requirements.

The book is a large event for the volunteers logistically due to the number of texts that are up for grabs.

With over 30 volunteers working the sale, the Kingston Symphony have a lot of dedicated staff to make sure the event runs smoothly. However, Andrews said they are always looking for more help.

“I think we’re a great service because we’re a place for [the Kingston Symphony Volunteers warehouse space] to downsize and [it] keeps the books out of the dumpster.”

Though there’s no required age to be a volunteer for the book fair’s operations, the majority are however retired. Eight years ago, Andrews went to the book fair and asked if they needed help, after they said yes she’s been there every day since.

“The books were the first draw, of course, but it’s a very friendly atmosphere.”

With thousands of books available, and only being open for ten days, selling out isn’t necessarily the goal. On the first night, Andrew said book dealers would come in and peruse the shelves, she described it as a “madhouse.”

But, for the rest of the fair, the pace of sales is steady.

Andrews said there isn’t enough exposure for the event and at the end of the ten days. Organizers send many books to charities. They sometimes don’t have enough storage for all the books and will occasionally have to throw a few out.

She encouraged people to spread the word to friends and friends of friends, so they can help support the organization financially while finding books to suit their needs.


books, Kingston, Kingston Symphony, Literature, Volunteer

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