The tradition of hosting a Book Fair on campus was established in the 1960s. The early success of the program is largely credited to Dottie Hammond (far left in photo). Dottie worked endless days and evenings to create an attractive display of books that covered a wide range of topics. Just like today, students created their “wish lists” by writing down their favorites on a sheet of paper. Dottie’s son, Barney Hammond ’82 recalls why his mom put so much effort into the book fair. “My mom really believed the fair should be about generating a love of reading. That is why she was so passionate about starting the tradition and making the book fair a memorable experience for the students.”
To engage the young readers on campus, Dottie and her volunteers also arranged for authors like Jean Showalter, Paxton Davis, George Garret, Louis Rubin, James Dickey and “Watership Down” author Richard Adams to visit the fair. “I recall some of the authors even stayed at our home while they were in town for our book fair,” Barney said.
Current Library Director Amy Holley recalls visiting the fair with her daughter, Sarah Kate Holley ’12 when it took place in the gym. “It was unlike anything I had ever seen,” she said. “It was like the entire Rams Head Book Shop had been moved into the gym. Dottie was definitely the Book Fair Queen, and she provided so much inspiration for all of the amazing parent volunteers who went on to chair book fair for many years."
Much like the earlier book fairs, the tradition of attractive displays and “wish lists” continues today thanks to the hard work and dedication of Amy and her volunteers. The book fair this year has earned $7,300 in sales, surpassing the total from last year, and is quickly approaching the goal of $8,000. Unlike the 1960s, the current fair will continue online through October 31. You can click here to make online purchases that will support the library.