This year's William Colenso College Book Sale – a Napier tradition for 30 years – will be the last.
Falling revenue is behind the decision to end the sale, says school librarian and sale co-ordinator Vicki Clarke.
Deciding to end the sale was a “heartbreaking” decision because, finances aside, it has so many benefits, Mrs Clarke says.
Many donated books end up on the library shelves, in classrooms or pressed into the hands of eager young readers.
The sale's key reward was keeping the community reading but there was also the many positive links the sale fostered between the school and the sale's supporters.
A project initiated by the school's Parent's League in 1989, the sale generated enormous goodwill, building bonds between parents, college staff and service groups such as Rotary, which has helped set up the sale tables for many years.
Prior to the June sale each year, a team of parents and the parents of former pupils spend hours each week for months sorting many thousands of books.
“It's laborious but very social,” Mrs Clarke says. “And if you spend long enough in the shed lifting banana boxes of books each week you can cancel your gym membership. If you meet a smiling and well-read Napierite with abs of iron they could well be one of our book sorters.”
Mrs Clarke is pained to contemplate what might be behind the decline in the sale's revenue.
“There's a missing generation we no longer see at the sale. It's the 16 to 25-year-olds. I'd like to think they're getting their reading online but that might be optimistic.
“And there seems to be just a third of the second-hand book dealers there used to be.”
The school is seeking donations of books for this year's sale, which will be held on the weekend of June 8 and 9. Books can be dropped at the William Colenso College office on Arnold Street. If you need books collected, please phone the school office 06 8310180.
Ideally all donations would come in before the end of April to allow time for sorting into categories.
“This is your last chance to clear your shelves and support a great cause,” Mrs Clarke says.
Judging by the type of books donated in the past, Napier people are “the best cooks, the best golfers, the best travelled, the most religious in the land, are incredibly romantic and slightly funny. And generous too,” Mrs Clarke says.
Details: Deliver books to the school office in Arnold St or phone 06 8310180 for collection.