Ready, set, book buying time

The annual Rotary Book Sale hits Chilliwack Mall Oct. 15

Just as sure as the leaves are changing and the weather is cooling off, the Rotary Book Sale is here.

Thousands and thousands of books have been sorted, priced, and readied for the annual book lovers’ event, which kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 7 a.m. sharp at the Chilliwack Mall. Helping with the monumental task this year has been Sunny Park, a Grade 12 student from Sardis secondary, and Kelly Spriggs, a Grade 11 student from G.W. Graham.

They have joined the volunteer brigade that systematically files the millions of books that have been donated to the cause over the past 33 years. It’s a huge task, but they regularly take it on inside Rotary’s warehouse at Townsend Park. There are stacks upon stacks of fiction and non-fiction. There are trolleys moving back and forth from one room to the other. There are bins to be moved, sorted through and emptied so they can be filled again. And there are the bins that are ready for transport to the Chilliwack Mall.

It’s a fast-pace, but it’s also quiet as the team works busily inside the warehouse.

“It’s peaceful,” says Park, as she searches a shelf for the right place for the book in her hand. At a table behind her, Spriggs marks books with price tags, usually a dollar or two. They are both working toward WEX credits, a program that gets students closer to graduation while providing them with useful work experience. It’s a four-credit course, and a student needs 100 WEX hours to get toward graduation.

Helping at the book sale is just one way both of the young women are earning their credits. Park, who is hoping to be a chemical engineer some day, works with kids quite often, helping out at events like the Promontory Tween Night, and at the summer school. Spriggs, who is considering becoming a general practitioner, has also had placements with Fraser Health, including helping in the maternity ward.

They both find the work relaxing, and they work at a steady pace to keep up with the long-time volunteers who oversee them.

It’s volunteer work like this that keeps the Rotary Book Sale feasible. For this sale, volunteers will have sorted through a quarter million donated books — it’s the largest used book sale in Western Canada. While many of the volunteers are Rotarians, many are friends and colleagues, and students like Spriggs and Park.

The sale lasts a week, and will run this year from Oct. 15 to 21. While the sale opens early on the first Sunday, and as usual will draw out the most eager and eagle-eyed book buyers, the rest of the sale hours are in line with the mall hours. All of the money raised goes back into the community through Rotarian projects, and helps their international projects.

The book sale accepts cash only, and they do not have the facilities to receive book donations at the sale. This year, watch for a colouring page in the Chilliwack Progress as well. Children who bring their cut-out page, coloured, will receive a free child’s book.

The Chilliwack Rotary is active in the community year round, and provides more than $30,000 in scholarships and breakfast programs at three local schools. They have also had a big hand in the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, Central Community Park, the Rotary Trails System, and the providing seating in the Rotary Theatre in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

To learn more about the projects that the Chilliwack Rotary has worked on, visit them at


Kelly Spriggs and Sunny Park work on pricing and sorting books for the Rotary Book Sale. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Jessica Peters/ The Progress Kelly Spriggs and Sunny Park work on pricing and sorting books for the Rotary Book Sale.

Sunny Park works sorts books for the Rotary Book Sale. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

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