21st UQ Alumni Book Fair®

21st Biennial UQ Alumni Book Fair Dates

Friday 3 May 9am – 9pm
Saturday 4 May 9am – 5pm
Sunday 5 May 9am – 5pm
Monday 6 May 9am – 5pm
Held at UQ Centre Building
Union Road, St Lucia Campus
Parking will be free Saturday to Monday
Friday 3 May Rare Book Auction starting at 6pm
Held at
Fryer Library, The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Auction Lots are available for viewing at the Fryer Library (for one hour, on the afternoon of the auction).
UQ Alumni Book Fair®. Photograph by Geoff Lawrence

History and Aims

The UQ Alumni Book Fair® is our biggest and most exciting event (held biennially). The very first Book Fair was held in 1979, thanks to the work of Alumni Friends’ members and volunteers, led by Lisbeth Hopkins. 2019 is an important celebration–as the UQ Alumni Book Fair will be 21! We plan on it being our most successful event–a worthy tribute to the foresight of Lisbeth Hopkins and the work of the hundreds of volunteers who have worked on the Fair since the 1970s.

The UQ Alumni Book Fair is our primary fund-raising activity–with smaller, Pop Up Sales held throughout the year.

Our Book Fair has three essential aims:

1.  To raise money to support the researchers, educators and students at UQ.

2.  To attract alumni and members of the general public to our St Lucia Campus, to see what our beautiful University has to offer.

3. To find a ‘good home’ for pre-loved books, magazines, sheet music, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, and even the occasional photographs, ephemera and prints.

Books waiting to be unpacked for sale. Photograph by Geoff Lawrence.

How Does it work?

On average, over 150,000 books are prepared for each Book Fair. Preparation consists of sorting, classifying, pricing and packing books, not all of which can be accepted for sale. Some books not selected for sale are passed onto community organisations, while others have been sent overseas. Every book we receive has potential to help someone.

Work in preparation for each Book Fair commences immediately after the preceding Book Fair has concluded. This work takes place at The University of Queensland, Long Pocket Campus, in Kurrajong and Banksia Buildings by our volunteers known as the Books Team. A group of book lovers consisting of retired academics, teachers and professionals who meet on a regular basis. Some are UQ alumni, while others are from universities from around the world. But not all are graduates. Everyone is welcome. A love of books and a willingness to volunteer are the only requirement if you would like to join the Books Team.

Each member of our Books Team contributes approximately 200 hours in a non Book Fair year, increasing to 275 hours in the lead-up to each Book Fair. It is estimated that over 20,000 hours are contributed (over each two-year period) to make the UQ Alumni Book Fair the success it is today.

A busy day at the last UQ Alumni Book Fair. Photograph by Geoff Lawrence.
Volunteer Alan, at the last UQ Alumni Book Fair. Photograph by Geoff Lawrence.

How You Can Support the UQ Alumni Book Fair

Keep Reading and Buy More Books

The simplest way is to support your reading habit and buy more books at bargain prices. To date, the tireless efforts of the Books Team has contributed to Alumni Friends donating the equivalent of over $8.5m to support the researchers, educators and students at The University of Queensland. A fantastic investment towards our community’s future.There is no doubt we are shameless in our efforts to ensure our supportive bibliophiles can access high-quality books.

Donate Books

If you are running out of shelf space, or just need to make room for new purchases, you can donate your old books for sale. See our Donations page for more details.

When make sure plenty of books keep coming. Photograph by Geoff Lawrence.
Looking for something new to read? Photograph by Geoff Lawrence.


We are always looking for volunteers to help prepare our donated books for sale and work behind the scenes in administration, marketing, website development, sales and writing. Please see our Volunteer page for more details.

Coffee is an essential component of volunteering, just ask Shobha and Jan.