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Traditionally, the book fair was a mega-event held in May over 3–4-days in two large halls at the Te Rapa racecourse, but 2020 brought new challenges along with opportunities to introduce changes to the fair. COVID-19 required that the fair was organised differently, and the book fair team developed an easier to navigate fair, better-spaced, with managed traffic flows and using just one main hall. 

Having taken over the project lead, our Club worked hard to come up with ways that would reduce handling and improve the whole experience for shoppers and volunteers. They say ‘less is more’ so we changed our book sort parameters, reasoning that even for charity, no-one would pay for poor quality and we developed more rigorous sorting controls.

Fiction had to be sorted alphabetically. Having long used cardboard banana boxes to store and transport sorted books, could we not display books for sale in those same boxes?  So instead of emptying  boxes and resorting onto tables, we laid the books out in their boxes, spine up, a move that not only saved hours of volunteer work, but presented customers with a uniform and easier to follow format. There will be more refinements each year, as the team look for more ways to improve the event and save time, but this year’s fair will repeat last year’s successful model, opening hours on Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday morning. This time around there won’t be as many CD’s or magazines, but there will be a great selection of books for children, young adults and adults. Fiction and Non-Fiction. We look forward to seeing you there this year in provided that Hamilton is at Alert Level 1 or below.

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