On 29 November 1993 Science for Peace held a sale of new and used books in the foyer of the Sidney Smith building at the University of Toronto. The sale began at 10 a.m. and continued until about 4:45 p.m. The foyer is a thoroughfare during the academic year as well a pleasant open area where people sit and rest, read or talk between classes. The sale was a success in the sense that we gained a good deal of exposure to people in the academic community who had not heard of us up to that time. I reported to the executive, and later to the Board, that the exposure was perhaps the main benefit of the exercise. As well, however, we netted $256 on the books sold, and those who took part in the exercise thoroughly enjoyed it. The books were donated by a dozen or so members and friends of SfP during the two week period prior to the sale. A big thank you to the donors of books.
Kelly Gotlieb, at the Board meeting 15 January, spoke enthusiastically in favour of having fairly regular book sales and said that this was the sort of activity that we should engage in twice a year on the St. George campus, but I wonder if this isn’t an activity that could equally well take place on very many campuses across Canada. So think about it, all you others who are not on the St. George campus of _U of T E_that means almost everyone in Canada. It is fun.
To plan for a booksale of this kind, you need an available thoroughfare, otherwise you don’t get enough people. You also need at least two large tables in situ in your thoroughfare. You need to be collecting books for at least two weeks, and the announcement about collecting books must be done quite some time before that; the announcement also needs to backed up by telephone calls. You need about nine people (not necessarily nine different people) on the day, three to take the books in and set up in the morning, two on duty at any given time in a series of two-or three-hour relays, and two to pack away the unsold books afterwards and take them away to storage. It is wise to get your team together a long time in advance. We had about ten people altogether, two of whom made some preliminary arrangements but were not available on the day, the other eight fulfilling the roles described above. Another big thank you to the volunteer team.
Another aspect of this activity is pricing. This needs to be done before the sale begins, say the previous day, but does not take long. We found it convenient to maintain boxes of the cheaper paperbacks all at the same price which saved marking those books individually. Another important preparatory activity is making an attractive sign for display: “Science for Peace.”
The proceeds of such sales could be used directly to fund Science for Peace activities locally. If you decide to do it, it would be good to have a supply of our own books on display. Susan Krajnc can supply these from the SIP office, together with a price list. Write to us after the sale to let us know how it went.
Try it. I recommend it.