Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Hutt News book fair raises $10,000

FAIR DEAL: The $10,000 raised at the Hutt News/Books for Cambodia book fair at the weekend will be a major bonus for school libraries in the Takeo province of Cambodia.

New chapter for school libraries in Takeo, Cambodia


Hutt News
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A sale of second-hand books in Lower Hutt on Saturday has raised enough money to buy thousands of new books for children in Cambodia.

People started lining up an hour early for the Hutt News/Books for Cambodia Trust book fair and the early rush was like a department store annual sale. As their parents were soon engrossed in running their eyes along the stacks of donated novels, travel, gardening, health and other titles, most kids seemed to make their selections quickly and find a spot under a table or perched on a carton to begin turning pages.

Of an estimated 30,000-plus books and magazines, perhaps 12,000 were unsold by the end of the day (any charity running a book fair in the near future, please contact the Hutt News - we can get you off to a good start!).

Thanks to the generosity of Hutt people who donated books, and those who turned up to the fair to buy, it looks like the proceeds will clear $10,000 once a few valuable titles are sold on TradeMe.

Books for Cambodia Trust chair Helen Walch is delighted. She says with that sort of money, the trust will be able to extend its help beyond the two high schools in Cambodia it supports to other schools in the Takeo province.

New books in that nation cost an average of NZ$3, so that's a lot of purchasing power.

But as trust secretary Judith Miller explains, "we won't be just chucking a whole lot of books (at them)". Later this month a training session for school librarians is to take place in Takeo, and the money raised by the book fair will ensure that librarians from the primary schools which contribute to the high schools can also be invited to attend.

"It's about supporting that whole library culture and systems." The trust is determined to make a long-term difference.

From that work with librarians in junior and senior schools, and with more books on the shelves, "we'll be helping create a reading culture amongst the pupils," Helen says.

A most welcome feature of Saturday's book fair was the food stall set up by members of the Hutt Cambodian community. Emma Kim and husband Rith say a number of families associated with a local Cambodian music group donated crispy spring rolls, marinades, delicious satay meat, spicey vegetables and other tasty treats for the stall - and refused reimbursement for their ingredients. So after braving the throng inside the hall, book buyers could enjoy a taste of the cuisine of the country they were helping out. The $350 raised by the stall was split between Books for Cambodia Trust and the local music group.

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