Toni shares her love of volunteering at Bookfest

May 26, 2022

“One of the great things about Bookfest is it brings out the best in people. Everyone is there to buy books, but it is much bigger than that. It’s a real community.” – Toni, Bookfest volunteer and school teacher.

Toni, a self-confessed booklover, has a longstanding connection to Bookfest. It started in 1991 when she just graduated from college and purchased her first teaching books at the event which was only in its infancy.

“I needed books for the classroom so I started going to Bookfest for that reason. But it evolved over the years and I was drawn to the rare and collectable section so I kept going back every year.”

A regular Bookfest-goer for 30 years now, Toni admits to a ‘substantial’ book collection.

“I go through phases but I’m always drawn to children’s books, autobiographies, war and Holocaust books. I have acquired a lot of signed books from Bookfest and I also collect a lot of Australian history books as they are quite rare now.”

As a teacher, Toni comes to the Bookfest each year with a list a page-long, containing the names of all the books she is looking for to help her students with school projects.

“Every August is Book Week at school and I love to create book displays based on themes which all showcase books that I have collected from the Lifeline Bookfest. The students love it.”

After talking about her desire to volunteer at Bookfest for more than a decade, Toni made the leap to the other side of the book table in 2018.

When asked what she loves most about the volunteering aspect, Toni says it’s the people.

“Getting to talk to people. It’s kind of come full circle for me. Now I’m on the other side and I’m meeting all the Bookfest regulars,” she says.

This year, Toni is passing on her love of reading to her niece—an aspiring librarian who can’t wait to volunteer at Bookfest alongside her Aunty.

“There’s a saying that goes ‘do good, feel good’, which is all about going out and helping the community and expecting nothing in return. And there’s so much truth in it. I love helping people look for books and people are so grateful for it.”

Thank you so much, Toni for sharing your love of Bookfest!

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