Everyone’s got a story about Elmdale’s Annual BookFest, from the kids attending the public school now to folks much farther away—both in time and distance. The mammoth used-book sale at 49 Iona Street February 19 and 20 not only raises funds, it also creates memories.
“It’s important to the school, as a fundraiser, certainly, but maybe where it matters more is the way it spreads into the greater community,” says Peter Laughton, a BookFest organizer.
BookFest tradition is a long one.
The BookFest tradition, after all, is a long one. As Tim Thibeault, editor at NewsWest, notes, “My first contact with the … School Book Fair occurred 55 years ago in 1960, when, as Grade 5 student at Elmdale, I was most excited to learn of it.” But back then it went on only in the evening, “meaning that my older brother was allowed to attend and I wasn’t. The resultant scars took some time to heal,” he adds, jokingly.
Claus Anthonisen, another BookFest volunteer, speaks of making a particular book collector very happy by finding him a near complete set of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason series, “He looked like a kid at Christmas.”
Certainly the students who are members of this year’s newly formed BookFest Club have stories to tell. Laura Kivimaki, a Grade 6 student at Elmdale, likes to talk about sorting through the piles of donations, looking for “hidden treasures.” When Simon Bettle, a fifth grader, mentions crashing through a stacked wall of empty boxes during cleanup after the event, plenty of nods and chuckles are evident in the group the club members.
The BookFest Club, a first-ever student addition to BookFest, is sure to guarantee that the memories keep spreading. The kids have created a bulletin board devoted to word-play that they hope will result in a wall covered with jokes, stories and more. The Ottawa Storytellers have also been invited to engage with Elmdale classes throughout the week. A read-a-thon, led by both kids and adults, will also be going on throughout the second day of the sale. Every aspect of the event, from sorting to shelving to advertising to contest running, is getting an eager boost from many small hands.
“Every year the kids and the community get pretty involved, but this year will be something special,” Laughton says, adding, “Well over 20,000 books flow through the school, into the community and even farther afield.” In the past, they’ve gone on to other schools, women’s and children’s shelters, charitable organizations, and even all the way to Kampala, Uganda, to spread their stories there.
Elmdale’s BookFest 2016 takes place at 49 Iona St., in the school gymnasium, Friday, February 19, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, February 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit http://elmdalecouncil.com, or email Peter Laughton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Book donations are gladly picked up, and can be arranged by emailing email@example.com. Proceeds from the sale go toward Elmdale Public School, and local charities chosen by thestudent-led Elmdale Cares Committee.