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Foundation’s book fair to raise thousands for student scholarships

Book Fair Feature

Over $50 thousand in scholarship funding is expected to be secured by Carroll Community College’s Foundation as they embark on their annual Penguin Random House (PRH) Book Fair.

The event, which is entering its 17th year, is one of two major event-driven fundraisers that the nonprofit arm of the college utilizes.  It spans two days, with special events planned for Friday, March 7, and the main attraction beginning Saturday, March 8, at 9AM.

Its purpose, however, is not limited to financial support.

“The emphasis is on literacy,” says Kathy Mayan, institutional advancement coordinator for the Foundation, “the importance of reading and getting kids excited about reading.”

To that end, PRH sells a variety of books to the Foundation at cost. According to Mayan, the group then adds a 20 percent markup before offering the books for sale to the community. It expects to earn $10 thousand from this endeavor.  The book sale portion of the fair begins at 9AM on Saturday, March 8.

“The books for the Penguin Random House book fair are selected in two large collections – children’s/young adult and adult,” says Alan Bogage, senior director of library, media and distance learning services, who helps to coordinate the inventory available at the event. Within those broad categories, library staff work in conjunction with PRH specialists to select what they believe will be good sellers. According to Bogage, their final selections will include works of fiction, best-sellers, books on gardening, cookbooks, mystery novels, nonfiction bestsellers, science fiction works, self-help offerings, sports novels, romance, crafts, and biographies.

He adds that 1800 titles will be available for sale.

Yet despite its focus on literacy and fundraising, the fair is not limited to book sales. Multiple groups will be coming together to add flair and excitement to the two-day event.

Hill Scholars students will be setting up a massive, pirate ship shaped moon bounce in the gymnasium. The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) club is coordinating with the Kids at Carroll program to provide science-related activities for older children. Early Childhood Education will be handling arts and crafts activities for younger children in the Student Center, and Professor Derasse will don his “Professor Wizard” persona for a “Wonders of Science” presentation in the theater – appropriate for kids of all ages.

Additionally, the winners of the annual PRH student writing contests will be announced. This contest, which is open to any student grades 1-12 and includes short story and poem categories, is judged by Carroll County public library librarians.

New this year, the Student Government Organization will handle concession sales. All proceeds from those sales will benefit Carroll’s Food Locker program. According to Mayan, a food drive is also being conducted during this time to aid the Food Locker.

“It has really become a team effort between our staff, Random House, and Carroll students,” says Mayan. She estimates that some 200 volunteers will be needed to man the fair and all of its attractions.

Other event facets include a silent auction, expected to bring in some $5-8 thousand, as well as talks by Penguin Random House authors Chris Grabenstein, Delia Ephron, and Michael Sokolove. Local author Don Riley will speak on Friday during a specially curated seniors event, which includes workshops on digital photography as well as wellness screenings by nursing and PTA students.

Also planned for Friday are two viewings of the popular Disney film “Frozen,” at 4:30 and 7PM, in the theater at the Scott Center. If the weather holds up, Mayan speculates, up to 800 tickets could be sold between the two showings.

While hundreds of books and many patrons can be expected to fill the Great Hall on both days, the majority of the fundraising will actually occur behind the scenes, with Foundation staff selling sponsorships to local businesses. Over 50 vendors, mostly local, contribute over $30 thousand to the event according to Mayan. Their donations are recognized in a special booklet that appears in the Carroll County Times the day before the event begins.

Tickets for the Friday showings of “Frozen” go on sale Monday, March 3 and can be reserved by calling 410-386-8152. The cost is $3.  Additionally, some events, including the children’s activities held by ECE and STEM, require a wrist band which can be purchased for $3.  Otherwise, the event is free of charge to the public, and begins Saturday, March 8, at 9AM.

The specially curated seniors’ section of the fair runs Friday from 1-4:30PM.

In addition to the PRH Book Fair, the Foundation also engages in fundraising during its annual Starry Night Gala, and is the organization behind the engraved bricks at the entrance to the college, as well as the theater seat campaign, which allows patrons to have Scott Center theater seats dedicated in their honor.

“Whatever the current initiatives of the college are, that’s what we’re going to raise money to help support,” says Mayan.


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