The Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women is ending its five-decade tradition of used book sales that raise scholarship money for women because of its dwindling membership and inability to find enough volunteers.
The 54th and final sale will be April 2-3 at its Book Room off Maryland Avenue.
In the meantime, the group is asking for donations of hardback, paperback and audiobooks, as well as CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, games and puzzles.
Book sale chair Tina Gardner said in a press release that the Wilmington branch is ending with sorry, joy and hope.
Sorrow because it ends a tradition that began in 1969; joy from knowing the sales have recycled physical media and helped many New Castle County women go to college; hope that the branch finds a way to continue the scholarships.
“A college degree is such an important foundation for a lifetime of financial success and contributing to society, and we are happy to have helped so many deserving women,” Gardner said. “And we will continue to do so, with your generous support.”
Since the Wilmington Branch began giving scholarships in 1965, it’s helped hundreds of women pay for college, Gardner said. She wasn’t sure exactly how many, but said in recent years, it’s been able to offer about $100,000 in scholarships to 22 women each year.
The average grant is $4,000, and once a woman receives a scholarship, she is able to apply for more until she graduates.
Interested donors should reach out to the branch at [email protected]. Donations for the final sale will be accepted Mondays and Thursdays 9:30-11:30 through March 17, 2022.
Used-book sales have been popular fundraisers at AAUW branches across the country, but branches are increasingly abandoning the sales, the press release said.
The Wilmington Branch’s final sale will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, at its Book Room at 8 Germay Drive, off Maryland Avenue, west of Wilmington.
From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, admission is $10, and numbers will be given out to accommodate the building capacity. Admission is free the rest of the sale. All day Sunday, customers can fill a bag for $10.
The latest state and federal coronavirus guidelines will be followed for this final sale.
Paperbacks are priced from 50 cents, and most hardbacks are $2. Art books and coffee table books are up to $5. Collectables are individually priced.
For this sale, thousands of new items join items that remain from the last sale. Further details can be found at wilmington-de.aauw.net/home/donatebooks.
Information about the scholarships is available at https://wilmington-de.aauw.net/scholarships.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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