It's become a Houston County tradition, and this year is shaping up as another great opportunity to find some good reads and support a worthy cause.

This weekend, the Houston County Historical Society will hold its 19th annual book sale at the new museum complex at 104 History Lane (East Main Street entrance) by the Houston County Fairgrounds in Caledonia. On Saturday, March 15, the doors will be open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday hours are 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

"We started the book sale when we acquired the old Presbyterian church," Society President Shirley Johnson said last week. "Funds from the sale are used to support our archives and artifacts. Documents and photographs need to be in acid-free boxes, and those are things that we need to purchase. We also bought a large collection of glass negatives last year, so we need to buy sleeves for those. Our clothing collection also has to be in acid-free tissue paper and acid-free boxes.

"Since we have been moving into the new building, we have a lot of things that need to be put in their proper storage areas."

Johnson said that the first sale raised $400 to $500. It's grown ever since, and now generates anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 per year. "Ten thousand-plus books will be offered," she noted.

"Last year, even with the arrival of an ice storm on the first day of the sale, we had people from Minneapolis, Madison and Rochester here to buy books. We usually have a large crowd of people lined up at the door when we open."

The mountain of materials includes books and magazines, LP records, videos, cassettes, CDs and DVDs.

"We are so fortunate to have Paul and Joan Wiste manage the sale for the historic society," Johnson added. "They set it up nicely, and the books are all categorized. It isn't like all these books are just dumped together.

"If you love Americana, you can go to that section. If you're interested in cooking, you can go to the cookbook area. It's all arranged like that."

Some other popular categories include children's books, history, romance, biography, fiction, military, literature, poetry, music, western, natural history, religion, sports, gardening, crafts and regional titles.

Sunday even features a special $5 per bag sale, and priced books will be reduced.

Johnson said that Thrivent Financial is providing supportive funds. "These items are all donated," she noted. "The book sale could not exist without all these great people that donate the books and the buyers that come. Also, we are so fortunate for all of the hours that our volunteers donate as well. It takes a lot of time to put this all together. It really is marvelous."

For more information call 507-725-3884 or email