Lifeline Canberra’s first big bookfair since the COVID-19 pandemic took off with a bang, as thousands visited the COVID Safe event.
Held over four days from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 March, the bookfair had a record-breaking COVID exemption in place so everyone could find their perfect item.
According to Lifeline Canberra, the Thoroughbred Park venue saw approximately 10,000 book lovers and bargain hunters visiting per day.
Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson said the four-day fundraising event was “absolutely amazing” with the money raised going directly to the local Crisis Support Service, supporting approximately 20,000 phone calls.
“The Northside bookfair is always our biggest bookfair, and we were so please to see the socially distanced queue at the start of every day before the doors opened,” said Ms Leeson.
“We weren’t too sure about the remaining COVID anxiety … but it did very little to dampen people’s spirts.”
Ms Leeson said the success of the Thoroughbred Park Bookfair was “an indication Canberra has returned to some kind of normalcy”.
“Everyone was thrilled, people came in with smiles on their faces and kept thanking us for putting it on,” she said.
“It’s been our biggest book fair since COVID struck and although we’ve had some smaller book fairs on the Southside, we did find that doing those test runs was a very wise move … There was very little left on Sunday afternoon.”
Normally hosted across Flemington Road at EPIC, the smaller venue was still packed to the rafters with a wide range of popular fiction and non-fiction titles, children’s books, textbooks and more.
The special collector’s room was also back for the first time since 2020.
“We had quite a concentration … we took the most popular genres,” Ms Leeson said.
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised and we’re so grateful. It was a record for us at Thoroughbred Park.”
While the Bookfair is still at the mercy of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Leeson and her team of volunteers are hoping to get back to their regular schedule for the book fairs.
Ms Leeson said that the funds raised at these events make a significant difference for the Lifeline Canberra team.
Since 2020, the telephone crisis supporters have seen a 40% increase in demand.
“We anticipate we will receive over one million calls in this year alone,” said Ms Leeson.
“This Bookfair and the community is what keeps the service alive.”
Meanwhile, Lifeline Canberra will continue continues to sell books every week at their Book Lovers Lane store at Fyshwick Markets, open Thursday to Sunday.
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