Every Tuesday morning, tucked in their cozy work room, the Bookworms wiggle their way through piles of books, pricing and preparing for the next book sale.
Mrs. Ollie Bate is the Head Bookworm. It was her love of books that steered her in the direction to spend the past 15 years volunteering at the Grace Hospital as a Bookworm. “I love to read, and love the mandate of the Bookworms; which is to provide funds for patient care,” said Mrs. Bate when asked why she decided to volunteer.
Mrs. Bate leads the 12 Bookworms, a group of volunteers who meet weekly to sort through the books, price and chat about the daily going-ons. While Mrs. Bate couldn’t remember when the Bookworm name came to be, she did recall it began as a joke. “The name just evolved,” said Mrs. Bate. “If you love to read, you are often called a bookworm. The name stuck.”
Mrs. Bate describes the bookworm group as one that shares a lot of special moments. “We work well together,” said Mrs. Bate. “It’s a labour of love. The group is dedicated to the job and providing the service to make sure any money we make, goes to patient care.” It doesn’t hurt that one of the perks of the job is to be able to borrow a book and bring it back (to sell), adds Mrs. Bates.
The first book sale at the Grace Hospital happened in 1990, when volunteer Phyllis Ireland set up in the main lobby and raised just over $450. Since then, the Bookworms have donated over $371,500 to the Grace Hospital Foundation in support of patient care. That number doesn’t include the over 15,385 hours of time the group has donated as a whole since 2004.
The Bookworms host two big book sales (May & September) and 5 mini book sales a year.
Even though some may argue the trend of reading has been leading towards digital books, Mrs. Bate says she does feel print is making a comeback. “I think people are going back to holding a book in their hand,” said Mrs. Bate. “I think looking at a screen is monotonous, there is something special about looking at print.”
The Bookworms are continually grateful for the donations they receive to help populate their book sales, and are always looking for more. “We have been fortunate in the donations we get from the community,” said Mrs. Bate.
If you would like to make a donation of books to the Grace Hospital, they can be dropped off at the hospital book drop; located by the emergency entrance. Or you can contact Volunteer Resources to arrange a drop off. (204) 837-0368