One of the oldest and largest book fairs in all of New England returns to Redding for its 61st year over the four days of Labor Day weekend. This year the noted extravaganza will bring back the wider aisles and larger tent introduced last year to accommodate for social distancing, as well as a few additional updates.

“Each year, we learn ways to refine the Book Fair experience for the customers and the volunteers,” said Book Fair Co-Chair Catherine Riordan. In addition to the overall spacing, Riordan said “the online sale site will be more extensive, highlighting some of the treasures and allowing us to reach customers outside our own town.”

The Mark Twain Library Book Fair offers some 65,000 selections of gently used items for all ages. These bargain priced books and other items – such as CDs, DVDs, vinyl albums, sheet music, games and puzzles – are sorted into 75 categories for convenient shopping. Held at the Redding Community Center, which is nestled in the rolling hills of this charming New England town, items are offered on display both inside the sprawling gymnasium and outside under a large tent, rain or shine. The vast selection attracts book lovers and buyers from across the region and beyond, providing a place where anyone can find great books at a great price – whether looking for something special or stocking up on books for the school year.

Some highlights from this year’s sale include: a significant array of vintage science fiction books; thousands of CDs in all music categories; a considerable selection of cookbooks, with many from “America’s Test Kitchen;” a number of books from the estate of former Wilton, CT, First Selectman Bob Russell (mainly American History books with an emphasis on Connecticut, Pittsburgh and West Virginia;) many classic children’s books; a variety of sheet music including vocal scores, instrumental, and popular music; and, an extensive Civil War section.

“The Book Fair is an essential part of Redding’s communal life,” explained Riordan. “It helps us to connect with friends, keep books in the hands of readers and out of the landfill, and raise essential operating funds for the library.”

It takes more than 250 volunteers to run this annual event, which is one of the library’s most celebrated fundraisers. Since the Mark Twain Library is an association library, roughly 60% of its operating budget is funded by an annual grant from the town of Redding and the remaining 40% needs to be raised by volunteers and the Board of Trustees. All proceeds from the Book Fair go directly toward the operating costs of the library. The event is free of charge except for one initial hour on the first day saved for those wanting an early start.

Book Fair hours:

  • Friday, September 2: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 3: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 4: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Half-price Day)
  • Monday, September 5: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ($10 per box with box provided)

From 9-10 a.m. on Friday, there is a $20 admission charge for those who want first dibs. Tickets for the first hour will be available starting at 8 am on site (book dealers usually start lining up the night before!).

Food on site including Parlor (pizza truck) on Friday and The Moonlight Mobile Kitchen (taco truck) on Saturday and Sunday. Free parking. Credit cards accepted.

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