The annual Rotary charity book fair at the Te Rapa Racecourse, originally scheduled for 7-9 May 2020, has been scratched for the time being.  Our collection depots have been temporarily suspended while the country is in lockdown, and some of them unfortunately will not be available when the lockdown is lifted. The fair itself will likely be a long time returning to its traditional format, but we Rotarians are an adaptable lot, and we will find a way to keep books in the community
 
As with many other areas of post-pandemic life, we will have to adapt to a "new normal".
A 40 foot container full of books is as close as we are going to get to a Rotary bookfair this autumn.  The COVID-19 lockdown means that collection of donations has been suspended for at least a month, and the fair itself will no longer be held in May as planned.  So far, about 30,000 items have been screened, sorted and packed away for the fair. We have kept the quality high. Fiction is sorted by author, and fewer items are being classed as collectible, meaning more bargains and even better value for money.
 
However, as a result of COVID-19, the traditional book fair, which attracted thousands of people over three days, is clearly some time off.  We know that regular buyers at the fair will want to know what our plans are and would hate for the event to be cancelled, so here's the deal:
 
We have been unable to operate under Alert Levels 3 and 4. Our "Level 2" doesn't start until Monday 18 May. From that day, we will once again welcome donations of books, DVDs, CDs, records, jigsaws and games to our drop-off points. Some of the depots previously available are unable to continue post-lockdown for various reasons, and others are still working through how to comply with distancing and contact tracing requirements.  So for the moment (15 May 2020), the following drop-off points only are available:
 
  • Caltex Chartwell, cnr Comries Rd and Lyndon Court, Chartwe
  • Glenview Automotive, 49 Lewis St, Glenview
Other drop-off points will be added as they are confirmed. For larger lots, it may be possible for us to collect from your home - please call us on 028-4179040 to discuss.
 
We will shortly begin selling selected items on online via TradeMe.  In general, these will be items of specialist or regional interest, including much of the material formerly classed as collectible.  Start prices for these items will still be very competitive and full descriptions will be supplied.
 
Once the country drops to COVID-19 Alert Level 1, we plan to organise some "mini-fairs".  These will be organised in a way that allows us to comply with any residual requirements for distancing, contact tracing and other health requirements.  Each mini-fair will have a specific theme, with some early ones likely to be things like Jigsaws, Childrens Books, Current Fiction.  Each mini-fair will likely run from 10am to 4pm, over one or two days. Venues may vary. Once we get to Level 1, check our Facebook page for specific announcements about upcoming fairs.
 
We would welcome assistance from people interested in helping us sort and check donations to the book fair on a regular basis.  There is a lot to learn for this process to run efficiently, therefore potential Friends of Rotary will be asked to make a regular weekly commitment. Only a couple of hours each week, but it needs to be most weeks, and all year except for December and January. If you are interested in becoming a Friend of Rotary to help with the book fair, please get in touch with us.  Better still, join Rotary.
 
The Rotary book fair is the largest book fair in the Waikato, and it generates many thousands of dollars that go towards community projects and causes.  It is a Waikato icon. We are grateful to the thousands of people who donate books, help with the fair, and buy books. We're in this together.
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