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Celebrating 60th Used Book Sale

AUTHOR: Dina Liberatore, AAUW State College Used Book Sale Chair


AGENCY: AAUW State College Branch

AAUW State College Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Used Book Sale

From humble beginnings in 1962 when the sale raised $179.19, the AAUW State College Used Book Sale celebrates its 60th anniversary this month. However small the sale was during those early years, AAUW State College has built upon the knowledge of members and past successes to continue that tradition of raising money for community grants and scholarships for women and girls.

As the sale gained popularity over the years, book donations exceeded the available storage space in members’ garages. A move to a dedicated workshop that made donating, as well as sorting and pricing books, easier was in order. From the first workshop on West Aaron Drive in State College to the current location on High Tech Road across from the University Park Airport, the workshop has moved five times in 60 years, each time providing enhanced space and opportunity for growth and efficiency.

The sale has changed as leadership innovated to make it more efficient and convenient for customers. Several thousand of the beloved tomato boxes, bought for $1 each in 1996, allowed volunteers to more easily pack, protect, and stack books. Most recently, taking credit cards all four days of the sale allowed for a quicker and more convenient form of payment for customers and volunteers alike.

Even the timing and location of the sale has evolved over the years. The first sales were held earlier in the calendar year in the HUB on campus, forcing the sale to compete with weather events and less accessibility for customers. The sale then moved to Penn State’s Ag Arena in 1999 to allow more space for books, better parking, and more shoppers. Mother’s Day weekend was a sale staple for many years until Penn State graduation moved to that weekend, making travel to the sale, parking, and finding hotels more difficult. Today, the Used Book Sale has settled comfortably into the second weekend in May.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication of AAUW State College members and friends. It takes hundreds of volunteers to run this well-oiled machine, from those who sort and price the books to the volunteers who selflessly give their time to move books into the Ag Arena and help throughout the sale. Without them, none of the good work that AAUW State College does for women and the local community would be possible.

Since the October sale, 2500 boxes of books have been sorted and priced and are ready to go! Volunteers have eagerly signed up to help and are ready to step into action for this year’s sale, May 14-17. You can find more information at We look forward to seeing you there!


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