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People in the Great Hall looking through books

5 things you might not know about the Chancellor's Committee Book Fair

A wealth of knowledge right here on campus

This September marks the return of the Chancellor's Committee Book Fair, which last took place in 2019. The Book Fair is a much-loved entry in the University calendar, but how much do you know about this popular event?

People in the Great Hall looking through books

After a two-year COVID-19 related absence, the hugely popular Chancellor’s Committee Book Fair will take place in the University’s Great Hall from Saturday 10 September to Wednesday 14 September 2022. To celebrate the return of the Book Fair, here are some things that may surprise you about the event. 

The Book Fair began in 1986 

We missed a couple of years due to COVID-19, but this year marks the 35th year of the Book Fair. The event was originally called Bookfest, and was held in the foyer of the Stephen Roberts lecture theatre (since demolished to make space for the new Law School). Over the years students, staff, and the public have returned to the Book Fair to pick up anything from rare books to cheap textbooks and the humble novel. While you might not see VHS tapes for sale anymore, the University community’s love of books has lasted the test of time.

The Book Fair is entirely volunteer-managed

The Book Fair is organised by the Chancellor’s Committee: a committed group of volunteers who encourage the community to visit the campus and raise funds to carry out projects to benefit the University. They work across all aspects of the Book Fair – taking donations throughout the year, categorising the books, transporting them to the Great Hall, and staffing the event. They also rely on student, staff, and alumni volunteers to help during the Fair. Want to become a librarian for a day? For more information about volunteering or to register your interest, contact

Funds raised are invested back into the University 

The Chancellor’s Committee invest all funds raised through Book Fair sales into a wide range of University projects and programs. Recently the Committee has supported the USYD Rocketry Team, who were crowned world champions at the 2022 Spaceport America Cup, and funded bursaries to support students affected by the floods. Yes, that means you can feel good about growing your book collection – even if your 'to-be-read' pile at home says otherwise!

Thousands of books are saved from landfill

The Book Fair has sustainability at its heart, reducing landfill by giving discarded books an opportunity to be rehomed. Previous years have seen over 50,000 books on sale, which if laid out end-to-end would be a mile of books. With three years’ worth of books now saved up, that’s a lot of books saved from landfill! The Committee has also used their stocks to donate fiction stock to Lismore Library, whose collection was badly damaged in the February floods. 

Grab a bargain on the last two days 

While you can browse thousands of books for low prices throughout the Book Fair, those who visit on the last two days can pick up an extra bargain. Visitors can fill a box with books of their choice for just $10 on the Tuesday, and $5 on the Wednesday. That leaves you to choose your strategy: visit early and take first pick of the books, visit during the last two days to fill a box, or make multiple trips – if your bookshelf will allow it.

The Chancellor’s Committee Book Fair will take place from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday 10 September – Wednesday 14 September.

Updated: 26 August 2022

30 August 2019

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