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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Lifeline Canberra’s iconic bookfair returns next month

COVID-19 may have taken one Lifeline Canberra Bookfair away from us during 2020, but it’s not getting a second.

The iconic event is back on the Southside on 10-13 December, after the charity had to cancel its July event due to pandemic restrictions.

Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie-Ann Leeson said the organisation has had its stock at the ready, waiting to get the all clear from ACT Health.

“Well, essentially we have been prepared to have a bookfair since COVID-19 hit. We have three a year and had the stock ready and sitting there since July,” she said.

“Now restrictions have eased, and we have also seen the level of community anxiety ease, we thought it’s a great way to show the Canberra community how to reconnect before Christmas.”

The event will be held over four days, rather than its usual three, with the hope of drawing a crowd of 10,000 socially-distanced people.

It will be held at Tuggeranong Southern Cross Stadium, across the two separate arenas that can hold up to 500 people each.

“We are working closely with ACT Health and using some exciting technology to further improve people’s safety and comfort levels,” Ms Leeson said.

“We are hoping the community will move through the area efficiently and will be asking shoppers to limit the time spent moving through the space,” she said.

“We will have a dedicated team there to ensure restrictions are enforced and everyone is doing the right thing.”

In place of its regular mid-year bookfair, Lifeline Canberra opened a permanent shopping space, Book Lovers Lane, at the Niche Markets within the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets during July.

However, with the retail space finding its own success separate from the bookfairs, Ms Leeson said it had plans to stay.

“We have discovered the space attracts individuals who wouldn’t usually attend a bookfair,” she said.  

“There is a crossover of supportive community members who visit both, but the large percentage who come through Book Lovers Lane wouldn’t attend a bookfair and we are feeling comfortable about having both of those options up and running side by side for the indefinite future.”

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