Peggy Ainslie

Peggy Ainslie has an amazing pedigree as a Book Fair volunteer: she first got involved when she herself was a Grade 7 student at Rockcliffe Park Public School! She recalls being in charge of magazines, sorting donations in the same room where towers of boxes are stored today.

Peggy Ainslie and family

Peggy Ainslie & family (Photo: Maggie Knauss)

Peggy returned as a Book Fair volunteer in 2000 when her son and daughter were at RPPS. She dove right in the next year, serving as Co-chair alongside Cindy Parkanyi in 2001 and 2002. Peggy then took on the role of Chair in 2003 and 2004 and served again as Co-chair alongside Maggie Knaus in 2005. Although Peggy’s children have long since graduated from RPPS, volunteering at Book Fair remains a family affair: Peggy’s mum Di and children Mickey and Emma all help out sorting, stocking, and pricing, and Emma has even taken charge of the Teen Fiction section. She comes by her expertise honestly: Peggy’s domain is hardcover fiction and she really knows her stuff! Shoppers can’t go wrong with a book from the Peggy’s Picks shelf. Peggy continues to give of her time at Book Fair each year because, she says: “I really enjoy volunteering – it’s something concrete I can do and I like to know that I can contribute to the community in some way, if only for a short period of time. I’m pretty busy with work and family, so the short window for Book Fair makes it easy to plan for.” Asked what she enjoys most about volunteering at Book Fair, Peggy says she loves the camaraderie: “It’s a great way to meet old friends and make new ones, all while working for a common goal.” What do you think might surprise people about working at Book Fair? I think the thing that people would be most surprised about is how addictive Book Fair volunteering can be. It’s really fun to come in and unpack boxes to see what treasures are hidden (and conversely the junk that we all read sometimes!).  Also, I’ve made some really good friends working at Book Fair—it’s been a great way to get to know the community.

Ian MacKay

Ian MacKay started volunteering for Book Fair in 2007, when his son entered Junior Kindergarten at RPPS.  Ian got involved in the annual book drive that takes place in the two weeks immediately preceding the Fair.  During the book drive, people call or email to schedule a time for a volunteer to stop by their house and pick up their boxes of donated books.  Book drive is usually pretty routine and not exactly dramatic work, but there was one visit where the wife was happily sending off a stack of boxes and Ian got caught in the middle when the husband appeared and demanded to have his “childhood memories” handed back to him immediately.  (In the end, the husband settled on keeping one box and allowing the rest of his treasures to be shared with Book Fair shoppers.)

After helping with the book drive for a number of years, Ian moved on to sorting and pricing during the two weeks leading up to the sale, when the gym is transformed into a giant used book store.  In 2014, in addition to helping tremendously in the lead up, he also joined the Book Bin Team.  The Book Bin Team takes turns checking the donation bin in front of the school on a daily basis, sorting and storing the books from March until October, when the gym is transformed.

When asked why Ian chooses to volunteer with Book Fair he said simply, “I love books.”  His son will be graduating from RPPS in June 2015, but Ian plans to continue volunteering, joining the many community members who support Book Fair year after year.

Best find in 2014:

"My tastes are...unconventional."

“My tastes are…unconventional.”

Treasure that got away:

The Cook Not Mad, or Rational Cookery (Canada’s first cookbook, first published in 1831 – it was a reproduction, but still!)