Univ. hosts charitable book drive

“Smart Bra Clips — The Ultimate Bra Strap Solution — Keep bra straps where they belong!” and “8,000 Awesome Things You Should Know” were among the hundreds of books and gifts at the Yale-organized book fair at Woolsey Hall on Thursday.

University officials hosted the fair as part of the national Days of Caring campaign, run by the nonprofit charity United Way, and will give 10 percent of the profits from the books to New Haven Reads, which provides books to elementary and middle school students. Books are Fun — a Louisville, Colo.-based subsidiary of Reader’s Digest — provided the more than 200 books on sale at the fair, which started yesterday and continues today.

Diane Turner, associate University librarian and former campaign chair of United Way, said that in addition to donating the 10 percent, Yale hosted the fair to encourage students and employees to buy the books available and donate them to New Haven Reads.

Last year, the community program, in its fourth year, collected more than 3,500 books. This year, the program aims to collect 5,000, Turner said.

Turner said the fair will move today from the President’s Room in Woolsey Hall to the downstairs rotunda, which she said she hopes will increase visibility to students. She added that Gerald Moore, who helped to run the fair for Books are Fun, will adjust the selection of books he brings to the fair today based on comments and suggestions from customers. The collection at the fair comprised books for a broad range of age groups. “Complete Cocktails” and “The Encyclopedia of the Harley-Davidson,” for example, targeted an adult audience, while titles such as “101 Things to Do Before You Grow Up” were aimed at children.

Two students interviewed Thursday said they supported the idea of proceeds going toward book donations. Two staff interviewed while they were shopping at the fair said they liked how the fair incorporated nontraditional titles and hands-on activities, such as play tents, stuffed Curious George toys, an oversized cutaway book called “Gigantic Paper Planes,” “Laugh Out Loud Greeting Cards,” bendy stix and “Target Ball: The Ultimate Dartball Game.” But another shopper, Jacob, who declined to give his last name, said he would have preferred that the fair offer more children’s classics.

Lisa Cook, who works for public relations at the Yale Law School, said she plans to purchase some new books for her 7-year-old son, clean out his bookshelf and donate his old books to the drive.

Pat Waleski of the Yale Medical Group said she dragged her friend, who has bad knees, half a mile to come see the books and gather holiday gift ideas.

“This was a journey for us,” she said.

But she added that the journey had paid off, noting her excitement to find cookbooks and calendars, as well as children’s books.

The book fair closes today at 3 p.m., and the drive runs until Sept. 30.

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