Photo courtesy of Dearborn American Association of University Women

Dearborn AAUW workers call attention to six decades of their annual used book sale Thursday through Saturday at the Dearborn Indoor Skating Center, 14900 Ford Road, to benefit women’s education. Inviting the public to the three-day sale are Joan Arrick (left), Betty Davies, Kathy Gapa, Eileen Prinsen, Judy Monroe and Jan Frank.

DEARBORN — Thursday marks Dearborn American Association of University Women’s 60th annual Used Book Sale, held again this year at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center, 14900 Ford Road.

Shoppers can pick up paperbacks for $1 and hardcovers for $2 during the three-day event, which runs through Saturday.

One of the biggest and longest running “book recycling” efforts in the metropolitan Detroit area, the sale was initiated in l951 to provide scholarships and educational support for women.

In recent years, Henry Ford Community College and University of Michigan-Dearborn have been prime beneficiaries of the local sale.

Except for a two-hour $15 “early bird” fee 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, admission is free. Doors will be open until 9 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on “bag day” Saturday, when shoppers can fill up one grocery bag for $8, two for $15.

“We especially love teachers,” said 2011 sale chairwoman Kathy Gapa. From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, teachers with identification can take home as many books for their classroom or personal use for free.

“I warmly salute the scores of volunteers who, over six decades of this philanthropic effort, have worked tirelessly to sort, mark and prepare thousands of books for this enormous sale,” Dearborn AAUW President Anne Gautreau said.

“Over a dozen book barrels are put out in the community every spring, and then book donations are collected weekly by our volunteers and brought to the DISC for sorting and categorizing,” 2010 sale chairwoman Joan Arrick said. “It’s really a labor of love.”

The women estimate that nearly $500,000 has been raised to support education since Dearborn AAUW launched the sale.

“We continue to do it by simply collecting and recycling used books,” Gautreau said, “an effort that has also kept a lot of perfectly good reading material out of trash bags headed for landfills.

“In this tough economy, book lovers will find an amazing selection of fiction, biography, historical, suspense and mystery novels, books on fitness, health, sports, art, cooking, and every other subject under the sun … all in good condition … all for peanuts.”

Gapa said that an exceptionally large number of CDs, DVDs and vintage records have been donated.

“It’s a great rescue effort,” Gapa said. “For books, for education and … for our pocketbooks. We hope the public will continue to support us.”