Friday, 22 June 2012

LifeLine Bookfest Volenteering is fun!

I have been a fan of the LifeLine Bookfest for a long time. Every six months, LifeLine holds a humongous secondhand book sale at the Brisbane Convention Centre - and I'm there!

There is nothing like the anticipation of opening up a book and delving into the pages for information or to find yourself in another world... Thank goodness that its open for the long weekends. I can take a while to choose a book... or ten!

Here's what I did...

Back in January, they had a stall recruiting volunteers and on a whim, I decided to put my name down. That was the last time I thought about it until I got an email a month ago asking me if I was still interested? They are very professional these LifeLine volunteer organisers and my email had info about everything from food to parking, to the various jobs up for grabs and how to get in early!

I got quite excited about the prospect of spending a weekend with a million books (an enthusiasm for which my husband did not seem share as enthusiastically) and I put myself down for an eight hour shift and told them to put me where ever they needed me since it was all new and exciting to me.

When the Sunday rolled around wild and windy, I assumed that not many people would travel into the city to grab a book bargain but I was wrong. Business for the Lifeline bookfest was booming and the volunteers were busy little bees.

I caught the train in for 11.30am giving me an hour to look at books before I started at 12.30pm. I don't know what I was thinking - an hour to look at a million books... I needed longer surprisingly!

And this is only about a third of the room that the books were in....
When I signed on, I was given a shift as a "pricer" and joined a team of three others who processed the books that people were buying. I counted them (they were $1 each in this section) and passed them onto the next person who packed them. I wrote the total on a piece of paper and the buyer gave that to the person on the cash register who took the money.
I had a ball chatting to people about the books they had bought and was quite surprised when my break came around two hours later. LifeLine knows how to look after their volunteers - Afternoon tea was the most yummy bikkies and bottomless tea and coffee!

Quick photo session during a break in the queue!
At the end of my four hours on register 13, my husband tracked me down and we signed him in and moved to register 15 in the $2.50 section. Once again I was a pricer (Spuiker, LifeLine advocate, Book Lover/Critic and information booth) and John was a cash taker. Never having used a till before, he had a steep learning curve but after three sales, he was on a roll! For his first real official volunteer role where his wife hadn't been the event organiser - he enjoyed it very much!

My cup of tea and my ready reckoner to calculate how much 34 books at $2.50 each might be!
John getting driving Instructions on the till. Three sales and he was good to go solo!

If you have ever thought of putting up your hand for something like this - I really encourage you to actually do it! We met some wonderful people, ate some fantastic biscuits, got free parking, grabbed some great books and had a ball to boot!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 Very green to volunteer for a charity
Frugal-ness: 5/5 Always a bargain to be had at the BookFest!
Time cost: As much or as little as you want to give or have time for.
Skill level: They will teach you what they need you to do.
Fun-ness: Awesome fun!!!

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