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Stock Up on Summer Reads at AAUW Book Fair in Bethlehem

Used book fever is about to descend on Bethlehem, thanks to the hard work of volunteers from the American Association of University Women’s local chapter and the annual Book Fair they are organizing at the city’s Municipal Ice Rink on Illick’s Mill Road.

Est. Read Time: 6 mins
AAUW Book Fair Sale

Under the protective dome of the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink massive used book sale is taking shape. AAUW Book Fair co-chair Amy Fields estimated that more than 100,000 used titles will be available for purchase when the fair opens April 29.

Used book fever is about to descend on Bethlehem, thanks to the hard work of volunteers from the American Association of University Women’s local chapter and the 60th annual Book Fair they are organizing at the city’s Municipal Ice Rink on Illick’s Mill Road.

The AAUW Used Book Fair will be a boon for local bibliophiles from Friday, April 29 to Monday, May 2. A Preview Sale with an entry fee will be held Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. Admission is $20 per person from 2 to 4 p.m. and $15 per person from 4 to 6 p.m.

Book Fair co-chair Amy Fields said the Preview Sale as well as the fair’s opening day typically attract savvy booksellers, but with more than 100,000 gently-used titles for sale there is almost certainly going to be something for everyone at the five-day event.

Fields said this year’s sale could be a record-breaker, since it will feature more books than ever before. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there hasn’t been a sale since 2019, she explained. Meanwhile–and particularly during the lockdowns of 2020–many people caught up on their reading, which means donations have been pouring in to the AAUW.

Volunteers sort donated books for the 60th annual AAUW Book Fair in Bethlehem, which will be held at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink on Illick’s Mill Road. A Preview Sale will be held Thursday, and the regular sale begins Friday, April 29.

Processing those donations is a small army of volunteers, some of whom are local chapter members and others who are simply avid readers, eager to see what’s being donated. A perk of volunteering is the option to purchase titles before the sale starts, Fields said.

On Saturday there were a number of youthful helpers at the rink who Fields explained are local high school students. Some are National Honor Society members while others were there performing community service, which is has been a graduation requirement for Bethlehem Area School District students since the early 1990s.

Saturday was one of the last days to donate to this year’s sale, which meant there was a nearly endless stream of books entering the building, where they were first assessed and sorted in the ice rink’s vestible. From there, the paperbacks and hardcovers were taken onto the rink floor, where they were placed on tarp-covered tables according to genre.

Among the few types of reading material that aren’t accepted for the fair are textbooks, encyclopedias, magazines, Harlequin romances and Reader’s Digest tomes, Fields said.

Used Book Fair Bethlehem

A selection of used cookbooks awaits shoppers at the 60th annual AAUW Book Fair in Bethlehem. This year’s fair–which opens April 28–promises to be bigger and better than ever, with over 100,000 titles available for purchase at bargain prices.

What can be found at this year’s sale is practically everything else, from bestselling works of fiction to cookbooks to political commentary to rare and historical compendiums, some of which are of local interest.

For example, featured on a list of noteworthy titles for sale (the “Better Books List”), are the out-of-print Saucon Secrets, volumes I and II by Hellertown historian Lee Weidner.

There is even a large-print book section for readers in need of something easier to see.

In addition to supplying books at bargain prices, the fair is an important fundraiser for local high school students planning to attend college, including Saucon Valley seniors.

“Since the book fair began in 1962, $979,000 has been raised for scholarships for high school girls and adult women,” the AAUW Bethlehem chapter website notes. “This year our goal is to reach $1 million in gross sales.”

Mystery titles such as ‘The Cat Who Came to Breakfast” can be found at the 60th annual AAUW Book Fair in Bethlehem.

You can help them reach that goal by shopping the AAUW Book Fair, which will be open:

Thursday, April 28 (Preview Sale with paid entry), 2 to 6 p.m.
Friday, April 29, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 1 (Half-Price Day), 12 to 6 p.m.
Monday, May 2 (Bag Day–$10 a bag), 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

At the end of the final day, Fields explained that left over books are donated to local nonprofit organizations, churches and other groups that will be able to utilize them.

The final opportunity to donate books is this Monday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to noon.

A large sign advertises the upcoming AAUW Book Fair at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink. The sale opens with a Preview Day on Thursday, for which admission is charged. Free admittance begins on Friday, April 29 when the sale opens at 10 a.m.

Know Before You Go

Payment for book purchases is by cash or check only.

The Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink is located at 345 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem, Pa.

Abundant free parking is available in the lot between the rink and the city’s Memorial Pool.

For a sneak peek at more of what’s about to go on sale, check out our photos below.



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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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