Ginny Lobsinger sits in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church community hall in Heidelberg she says was built by her great grandfather and his brother in 1896.
Lobsinger says that 20 years ago, the church hall was extremely busy with community events. “Almost every night of the week there was a group in here.” Programs included events like Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, an exercise program or a parent and tot program.
“We’ve always welcomed groups from the community or programs from the community here to use the facilities free of charge,” she said.
To help pay for the costs of hosting so many events, the congregation started a used book sale, and the event continued annually for 20 years.
Today the only group still using the church hall regularly is the seniors’ card club, which meets twice a month and will return in June, says Lobsinger, noting this year will be the last for the book sale.
“Which is sad, it is,” said Lobsinger. “But the time that it takes… we’re an aging congregation and there’s not a lot of us. There’s probably about 30 active members and so it just isn’t something that we want to keep up.”
The funds will go toward relief efforts for Ukraine.
“We thought that we’d have it go to a good cause,” she said. “It’s just obvious with the refugees and the help that’s needed.”
The congregation is donating their Lenten offering to Ukraine relief, and the book sale funds will go along with them. Together the funds will be donated through Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
Lobsinger has been busy collecting and sorting piles of books and puzzles for the event. They are stacked in the low-ceilinged church basement below the hall. A framed portrait of Jesus watches over the leaning boxes.
And, she loves books; actual physical books made from paper.
“I read every day. Every day. I love a book – a paper book,” she said. “I like to hold a book.”
Lobsinger says the annual book sale is popular and that it was missed when it wasn’t held during the pandemic. “People look forward to it,” she said. “They were asking through COVID, ‘When are you having a book sale?’”
There are kids in the community who grew up with the book sale, and return every year even now as teenagers, she added. “It’s nice to see them grow up.”
She said she hopes people will come for the last sale. She’s been busy sorting books and puzzles, noting there is something for everyone.
She listed books of many genres: self help, how-to, travel, mystery, romance, children’s books, recipe and craft books.
“There’s a huge variety, it’s just as good as the bookstores,” she said
Whatever isn’t sold will be donated to a used bookstore, or perhaps the congregation will donate any leftovers to a thrift shop.
The sale will be held May 12-14 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 2925 Lobsinger Line. Volunteers will be there selling the books from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“I just want [the community] to come out and support a good cause. Take as many books as possible,” she said. “You can’t beat the prices, and we want to raise a lot of money for a good cause.