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The Newman Used Book Sale of St. Thomas More University Parish and Catholic Student Center will return Sept. 20-22 for its 45th year.
Books, CDs, VHS tapes, games and puzzles, sheet music, magazines and more make up this public book sale with standard prices ranging from 50 cents to $3.50.
The sale will be held at the church, located on Oakland Avenue, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22.
People come to the book sale year after year because “we have good quality books at really reasonable prices,” Janet May, co-chair of the book sale, said.
The first STMUP lounge room will contain antique and collectible items, and the second room will be designated for teen and children’s books, puzzles and games with prices ranging from 25 cents to $3.
Two side rooms in the STMUP lounge will be reserved for higher-priced, rare, high-quality and antique items as well as children’s items. Items such as special fine art books and audio books, among others, will be individually priced, according to the book sale pricing guide.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania students will receive $1 off every $10 purchase with an I-Card, and all sales are final.
STMUP will also offer a “Bag Day” sale Sunday, Sept. 22. Customers may fill a plastic bag provided by the book sale for $3 or a Newman Used Book Sale tote bag with items from the tent and main lounge standard pricing area for $6, according to the book sale pricing guide.
Proceeds from the book sale, the only annual fundraiser held by STMUP, benefit the church’s services and programs.
“They’ve tried to contribute [the proceeds] more towards student programs,” May said. “We consider it a ministry toward the students because we have a lot of student organizations on campus.”
Items sold in the book sale are donated by members of the Indiana community, local businesses, schools and libraries.
May, her co-chair Crystal Deemer and many student volunteers have committed one Saturday a month since March to organizing books and sorting items in preparation for the book sale, May said.
“We have hundreds of volunteers,” she said. “The [IUP] football players, the lacrosse and the tennis teams, community people come and church people come. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night before the sale from 10 a.m. until 10 at night, people come in whenever they have time to help.”
Once the sale begins, two volunteers work at each of the 14 cashier tables while others organize books and help pack customers’ cars. Volunteers also help with cleanup Sunday after the sale.
Ashley Bronakowski (senior, English education) has volunteered for the book sale for three years and said she began volunteering as a community service requirement for IUP’s Robert E. Cook Honors College. However, Bronakowski said even if she did not need community service hours, she would still volunteer due to her love of books.
“There is literally something for everyone at the book sale,” Bronakowski said. “I think the book sale is especially important to the community because it allows people to get rid of books they have lost interest in and find a plethora of new ones at a fraction of bookstore prices.”
Janelle Stayt (senior, marketing), president of service sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma, said that although the book sale brings people together, it also benefits the community because it “certainly has more people reading.”
“It’s a great opportunity to work with a great group of people,” she said. “Gamma Sigma Sigma volunteers every year because it’s fun community service. The book sale is a success because it is so well organized. There are endless piles of books, but each has a section so people can find exactly type of book they want, from antique books to modern bestsellers.”
Over the years, with customers coming from as far as North Carolina, the book sale has become more than an Indiana event, Deemer said.
It began in March 1969 as a project organized by the women of the St. Jerome Guild, a woman’s service group made up mostly of the wives of then IUP faculty members. After 16 years, the Guild decided to join STMUP parish and turn the book sale over to other parishioners.
“These ladies decided, since we were associated with the university, they’d sell used books and see how it went, and it ended up taking off and being a very popular event,” May said.
Bronakowski said she believes the book sale continues to be successful because of its large selection of books and “college-student-friendly prices.”
Both May and Deemer said they believe the book sale brings the IUP and Indiana communities together.
“It’s more the ministry of this; it’s getting people that wouldn’t normally be in the Catholic Church to stop in and see what we’re about,” May said. “To let them know it’s a friendly place to come, a connection to the IUP community, to make people feel welcome.”