Gather your empty bags and prep your nose for the smell of books: the VNSA Book Sale is back. All year, members of the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association (VNSA) have been sorting through hundreds of thousands of books, and this Saturday and Sunday, February 16 and 17, the collection will be up for sale at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
The 57th annual event, billed as one of the largest book sales in the country and the "Valley's Greatest Treasure Hunt," includes more than half a million copies of paperbacks, hardbacks, children's books, and rare items.
The VNSA began in the 1950s as the fundraising arm of what's now the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association with a logo drawn by local comic hero Bil Keane.
The organization has since held an annual book sale to raise money for the community. In its first year, VNSA raised $900, and since, the organization has traded used books for more than $6 million.
VNSA volunteer Barbara Simonick says that after a year of sorting, the VNSA volunteers will be hustling around tables of books, helping attendees sort through titles, and selling as many books as possible. Rare books and hardbacks are priced at a fraction of what you'd find on Amazon and paperback books are $1.50 each.
"We are thankful to be over the amount of items brought to the Fairgrounds for sale last year, and will be offering approximately 400,000 items for sale," says Simonick. "Our membership, which is an all-volunteer work force, together with friends and family and volunteers from Teamsters will be unpacking 7545 boxes of books, which is eight and one-half semi-truck loads full, at the Exhibit Hall in preparation for the sale."
Book junkies and collectors will line up around the block to get first dibs on books that have been donated by bookstores and individuals throughout the year, so if you're looking for something specific or want to add a few rare books to your collection, show up early.
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The book sale will be open to the public on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but you might have to cough up a couple bucks for parking.
For more information, check out the VNSA Book Sale website.