Pandemic Book Fair Prevails

Holding an in-person book fair during a pandemic is a lofty undertaking in itself, and this year's pre-K through sixth grade event exceeded all expectations. Children picked their favorite titles while learning about budgets, and the generosity of the GSB community proved staggering. Larger-than-expected profits will benefit the promotion of reading and research on campus.

"My goal for this fair was lofty – my rep at Scholastic suggested $2,000 to $3,000 – I thought we could do more," said Lia Carruthers, lower and middle school librarian. "When I made our goal $5,000, she chuckled, and we made it official. Knowing our community, I never aim low!"

Thanks to the support of students and their families, this year's book fair collected $6,754.95 in sales. Even though the November event looked different, everyone adapted to help make it a success.

Typically, the sale runs for one week, but this year, due to social distancing guidelines, it lasted for two. Families toured titles virtually ahead of time, and students created wish lists. Then, Ms. Carruthers led two students at a time, one grade per day, to peruse the stacks. Parents loaded their pupils' e-wallets beforehand, and students learned how to manage their allotment.

"I helped students with their budgets; the third and fourth graders understood budgets really well," she said. "They left that day with books." Top sellers included Lily to the Rescue, by W. Bruce Cameron; Bunbun and Bonbon: Fancy Friends, by Jess Keating; Not Quite Snow White, by Ashley Franklin; and I Promise, by LeBron James.

In another major change to this year's fair, parents were notably absent, due to COVID-19 restrictions. "In the past, parents came in and did holiday shopping, but instead they picked out books online and still sent money in with their kids," she said. Online sales tallied $1,477.11.

"Thank you to our amazing parents and students who helped make our book fair so successful during these challenging times," said Ms. Carruthers. "And big thank you to my pack-up crew: Kyle Armstrong, Kristen Armstrong, Jill Fedon, and Wendy Hanks. We couldn't have done it without everyone’s help."