From small beginnings in 2000, the annual Howick Rotary Bookarama is now a widely recognised community event of note with funds being used to support many local activities (listed below).
From small beginnings in 2000 in the old Wes Burns shop in Howick, transitioning through the Old Howick Library, Howick Intermediate School Hall, The RSA basement and now having just finished our most recent sale in the large Somerville Intermediate School Gym, The Rotary Club of Howick BOOKARAMA continues to grow each year.
A small team of Howick Rotarians consisting of Colin Monk, John Savory, John Osborne, Geoff Thompson, Gavin Green and Sally Fletcher drive BOOKARAMA and work tirelessly over many months in preparation for the next BOOKARAMA. Once the books start pouring in, spouses and other club members lend a hand in the collection of books from the various book drop-off depots, and spend many hundreds of hours sorting in preparation for the big sale.
Howick Rotarians start collecting books for the next annual BOOKARAMA soon after one BOOKARAMA is finished, but collecting starts in earnest in July and books are progressively sorted as they are donated. The advertising campaign begins some six weeks before BOOKARAMA and we are always amazed at the quantity and quality of books that are donated by our local Howick community. BOOKARAMA has been expanded to include books, puzzles, games, CDs, DVDs and vinyls. The timing of the event has always been in the school holidays in early October and this has enabled a wide cross-section of our local community to attend from young children to senior citizens and they find those gems that they are looking for.
BOOKARAMA is now recognised as one of Auckland’s leading Book fairs with an amazing and extensive range of books. The new location at Somerville Intermediate proved to be most successful. The large, well lit and roomy gym provided those coming to purchase books, puzzles and games a great selection from which to choose. The ample car parking available on site meant easier access for those attending the book fair and an even easier task in taking the heavy purchases back to their cars.
The public attended in droves over the six days that BOOKARAMA was open and many thousands of books were sold. The quality of books donated by the public to Howick Rotary for sale improves every year and this year the quality was outstanding. Those attending the sale commented on the well laid out tables, with ample room between the rows allowing room to move about freely and to peruse the thousands of books on sale.
One feature of BOOKARAMA is the Early Bird sale held on the first Tuesday evening, where for a small door charge  the public can enter and have the pick of the best books on sale. This year it was pleasing to see a large increase in the number of local residents taking this opportunity to purchase those books. We would recommend in future years that more of our public take up this opportunity, as for the price of one book bought at retail price, they can obtain many books which may only have been read once and look as if this is the first time they have been opened.
On Wednesday morning the doors opened at 9-00am and several hundred people were soon perusing through the thousands of books displayed by category.  The new location at Somerville Intermediate has allowed for a far greater display of books on the tables with ample room between the rows for people to move through without restriction. It is pleasing to notice the families and children searching through the tables for the books that have special interest for them.
BOOKARAMA is only successful because of the huge support Howick Rotary receives from the public in the donation of books, the businesses that are depots for book drop-off, the businesses that support in so many other ways, and most especially Somerville Intermediate School for the generous provision of the use of their gymnasium for two weeks during the school holidays.
With the funds raised from BOOKARAMA, Howick Rotary is able to support financially many local community activities, including the Howick Historical Village, Howick Coastguard, Annual scholarships to Howick College, Tree planting at Mangemangeroa Nature Reserve, provision of defibrillators around Howick, numerous youth activities and programmes with local schools, the donation of Emergency Response Kits to assist people in disaster areas, Rotary International youth exchange programmes.
Howick Rotary would like to thank all those in our local community who continue to support BOOKARAMA and make it the eagerly awaited annual event.
(John Osborne, spokesperson for The Rotary Club of Howick BOOKARAMA)