The Redding Community Center will be filled with bargain-priced books and other gently used items on sale throughout Labor Day weekend for the 62nd Annual Mark Twain Library Book Fair. This year the storied event boasts a plethora of children’s books, a considerable amount of music and performing arts selections, a number of foreign language choices and an array of books on transportation, knitting, Native Americans as well as Spycraft and Intelligence Operations.
“The Book Fair is the best treasure hunt I have ever seen,” said Book Fair Co-Chair Catherine Riordan. “We are all certain to find something we meant to read, something we want to recommend to a friend, something once loaned out but never returned, or perhaps best of all, something that will introduce another reader to a whole new world of imagination and excitement: Oz? Narnia? The Shire? Wonderland? Three Pines?”
One of the oldest and largest book fairs in all of New England, The Mark Twain Library Book Fair is also recognized as one of the most organized events of its kind. With more than 65,000 selections geared toward all ages, it offers something for everyone from teachers trying to fill their classrooms to parents looking to stock their bookshelves to collectors searching for that rare find.
“It often feels like Christmas or your birthday because you never know what book will show up that MUST go home with you that day,” said Book Fair Co-Chair Midge Loery, who recommended that shoppers get to the fair on the first day or two since so many popular categories sold out quickly last year.
For those who can’t get there the first two days, there is plenty of incentive to come in later as the deal gets even better as the fair progresses. On Sunday all books are sold at half price and on Monday shoppers can fill an entire box for just $10. A particular highlight is the extensive children’s section this year with a few special childhood treasures published prior to 1988 such as Uncle Wiggly’s Apple Roast by Howard Garis, The Spanish Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins, Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie and The Kauri and the Willow by Elsie Locke.
The Book Fair runs through the entire four days of the holiday weekend. All books and other items – such as CDs, DVDs, vinyl albums, sheet music, games and puzzles – are sorted into 75 carefully curated categories for convenient shopping, including a special Collector’s Corner each year which offers rare books that are hard to find.
All proceeds from the Book Fair go directly toward the operating costs of the library, which as an association library relies on fundraising to support 40% of its operating budget. Entrance to the event is free of charge except for one initial hour on the first day saved for those wanting an early start.
It all started, as the story goes, when famed humorist Mark Twain realized he had more books than would fit in the new home he moved to in Redding in 1907. He donated over 1,000 titles to help get the library started; and upon his death, his daughter Clara donated more for sale to build on his fledgling legacy in Redding. Now, more than 100 years later, the Book Fair offers tens of thousands of items for sale and is still one of the library’s principal fundraisers and a mainstay each Labor Day Weekend for this quaint Connecticut suburb.
Book Fair hours:
Friday, September 1: 9am-6pm *
Saturday, September 2: 10am-4pm
Sunday, September 3: 10am-4pm (Half-price Day)
Monday, September 4: 9am-4pm ($10 per box, we will provide box)
*During the first hour on Friday, (9-10am) there is a $20 admission charge for those who want first dibs. Tickets for that hour will be available starting at 8 am on site … book dealers usually start lining up the night before!
Food on site including Rich’s Wings & Things Friday and Sunday, and Parlor Pizza on Saturday.
Free parking. Credit cards accepted.