Annual Book Fair Funds USC Aiken Scholarships
Aiken, SC (04/08/2020) — Every year, the Aiken Branch of the American Association of University Women collects thousands of books and other items, which they turn into scholarships for Pacers from the proceeds of their Books 'n' Things Fair.
The group believes it's important to host this local event for a couple of reasons.
"First, we aim to promote literacy by getting as many books as possible into as many hands as possible," according to the AAUW Aiken's website. "The sight of crowds of happy book buyers carting out boxes of books each year gives us great pride.
"Second, hosting the Books 'n' Things Fair allows us to give back to our community in the form of scholarships and grants which promote literacy and education."
The American Association of University Women's annual book fair raises funds for scholarships and agencies supporting education for women.
"We support education in all its forms, from scholarships at our two local colleges, GED programs and high school education and reading at all levels," according to the organization's website.
"Approximately 80 percent of the funds we raise stay right here in Aiken County in the form of local scholarships and grants. The other 20 percent goes to the Educational Foundation of AAUW in Washington, where education for women and girls is supported at the college level and above."
This year's fair raised almost $74,500. That's a lot of books at 50 cents to $2 a pop.
Several University of South Carolina Aiken students are beneficiaries of the local AAUW members' efforts and the community's support of the event.
"AAUW gives generously to USC Aiken through the AAUW Chancellor's and AAUW Endowed Scholarships," said Robin Callicott, major gift officer at the university.
Pulling off such an event requires an army of volunteers, as AAUW members collect donations five weeks before it opens, sorts books by category and alphabetically by author, and helps patrons find just the book they're looking for during the three-day sale. This year, USC Aiken nursing students and members of the equestrian teams assisted the AAUW by moving donated books and sale items from storage lockers to the book fair site.