Planned Parenthood kicked off their 37th annual used book sale on Thursday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in an effort to help fund the organization’s locations within the tri-county area. The volunteer-run effort will continue until Oct. 2 and has already garnered a record-breaking $25,000 in donated book sales at Thursday night’s opening reception. All proceeds from the campaign go directly to Planned Parenthood facilities in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. According to Book Sale Chairperson Peggy Nicholson, the national reproductive healthcare provider will rely more heavily on the campaign’s proceeds this year due to decreased funding from the federal government. “The book sale is even more important this year,” Nicholson said. “Last year we grossed just under $120,000 that went directly to clinic services in the tri-county area.” In conjunction with individual contributions, Planned Parenthood received donations from the national bookstore chain Barnes & Noble, which was recently forced to close its Santa Barbara location.
According to Nicholson, event planning takes nearly the entire year and organizers have already received 150 boxes of books for next year’s fundraiser.
“We start sorting in January,” Nicholson said. “It takes us from January to September to put this thing together.”
Categorized tables fill the showground’s banquet room including alphabetized sections for mystery, literature, science fiction, non-fiction, languages, children’s books, psychology and more. Around 200 community volunteers work to sort, restock and sell the large quantities of donated literature.
UCSB mathematics professor Jeff Stopple said volunteering is an entertaining opportunity to support the healthcare centers.
“I have been a volunteer here for about 10 years,” Stopple said. “Planned Parenthood is a good cause and it is a fun volunteer gig. … You see every book you have ever read in your life go by you.”
Book sale volunteer Samuel Chirman, a medical doctor at the Isla Vista Medical Clinic, said Planned Parenthood provides important services for young adults.
“I do not have blood in my veins, I have printers’ ink. I’ve been reading since I could hold a book; this is really the kind of place to stock up,” Chirman said. “The students at UCSB directly benefit from the services of Planned Parenthood and in addition to just enjoying to read, I like to be able to support an organization that helps me practice medicine.”
Though government support remains low, Nicholson said revenues have increased significantly since the book sale relocated to its current venue at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.
“We no longer have to struggle to find an expensive vacant storefront to rent,” Nicholson said. “Since we moved here our profits have gone up considerably.”
Nicholson said the organization strives to continue informing the community about commonly misunderstood issues and topics that public education often fails to address.
“I believe in the education and health care for people who cannot afford it,” Nicholson said. “A lot of people think of Planned Parenthood health centers as abortion clinics, but abortions account for only 3 percent of services performed. The rest is education, planning and healthcare for low-income families.”
The book sale is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday this week, and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. The sale will open at 8:00 a.m and end at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2.