Find rare and unusual books and letters

Sidney's Haunted Bookshop hosting book fair, offering appraisals with proceeds benefiting Sidney Archives.

Tom Thornbury of the Haunted Bookshop is getting ready for a three-day book fair April 23 to 25.

In honour of literacy, a love of leather-bound volumes, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s annual book celebration, Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is hosting a book fair starting on UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day next Thursday.

On April 23, bibliophiles the world over will be celebrating their favourite stories among the rare and unique, in any place they can set up.

“This was meant to benefit book reading,” says Haunted Bookshop owner Odean Long of the book fair. “People are having them all over the place. In halls, in barns, in tents even.”

Many book fairs put on by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers go for a full week, and are often expensive, she says. The ‘pop-up’ book fair next week brings a more informal nature to the experience.

Three booksellers are coming in to join Long in showing off their collectible wares: Michael Thompson from Hornby Island, William Matthews from Salt Spring Island, and Bjarne Tokerud from Victoria.

“They’ll be bringing some really outstanding material,” says Long. “Chinese documents, antiquarian books, leather-bound volumes, books with marvellous hand-painted colour plates.”

The fair runs from April 23 to 25, with a day of appraisals offered on the Saturday. The public is welcome to bring in old items from grandma’s attic to see if they’re worth anything, for a fee of just $10 per item.

“It’s just like the antiques road show, only it’s old books.”

Formal appraisal fees can run upward of $100 per hour and are generally only done for insurance purposes or if a person is donating a piece, says Long.

“So rather than charging these big fees, which few people can really afford, we thought we would just charge $10 per item.”

The fees will go directly to the Sidney Archives in the hope that it will help support the purchase of books and documents vital to preserving the history of Sidney.

“In my estimation, the archives are sorely, sorely underfunded,” says Long. “I know how hard Brad (Morrison, the curator) works, and how passionate he is about the collection and hopefully it will grow.

“Because I am an antiquarian book dealer, and I do deal in old documents and old photographs and maps, I know that sort of archival material is equally important as the household goods and medals that get donated to the museum,” she says.

“Documents are very important to our history.”

The book fair runs April 23 to 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Haunted Bookshop, 9807 Third Street in Sidney. All the books will be for sale. Appraisals will be available all day Saturday, at $10 per item.

For more information, visit www.sidneypopupbookfair.blogspot.ca or call The Haunted Bookshop at 250-656-8805.For more background on UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day, visit http://bit.ly/1aEqHmS.