McALLEN — If you have stacks of books on your shelves or in your closet that you’ve read several times over, you may be wondering what to do with them. Instead of constantly leaping over those stacks or throwing them out, hold on to them a little while longer because the UTPA Alumni Association will be holding a region-wide used book sale in February and will be holding a collection drive on Jan. 31.

Valley residents are urged to collect any books they may have and drop them off on that day at Office Furniture USA at 1008-A E. Pecan Blvd. in McAllen on Saturday, Jan. 31, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’ve already had lots of people contact us that they want to donate their used books to us. We’re accepting them at any time, but we set Jan. 31 as our regional collection date to give people an opportunity to clean out their closets and shelves and deliver the books on the same day,” committee chairperson Arnoldo Mata said.

Some of the books already donated cover a wide spectrum of reading material. According to Mata, items already donated include books on parenting teenagers, classic fiction, religion, woodworking, music, children’s books, cookbooks, popular business, computers, westerns, romance novels, crime, and books on politics.

“There is something for just about everybody. I don’t think anyone who comes to our sale will be disappointed,” Mata said. “We’ll have paperbacks and hardcover books for all interests. But, right now, we really need people to bring their books in so we can start sorting.”

Mata asked all UTPA alumni to start packing their books for the collection drive. Proceeds from the sale will be used for scholarships, especially book scholarships.

“We try to help UTPA students in any way we can,” Debby Grant, UTPA alumni relations director explained. “We’ve seen the cost of text books increase almost every year. It can cost several hundred dollars just for textbooks. So, the Alumni Association Board decided that they would start a new program to award Book Scholarships so students on a tight budget can better afford the text books they need for class.”

“This is going to be a fund-raising and community service event,” Mata said. “Many of our Alumni have wanted to get involved in some community service events. Through this sale, we want to promote literacy, especially in the area of children’s books. Instead of having these books thrown in the trash, we want to make affordable books more accessible to the public.”

“This will also give our alumni members a chance to get together for some fun and help the community,” Grant said. “Anyone wishing to help out can contact us. We will be working with community organizations across the Valley and with area schools to promote the event.”

According to Grant, the volunteers and those wishing to donate books may contact the Alumni Relations Office at 956-381-2500. Arnoldo Mata can be reached at

The UTPA Alumni’s Used Book Sale will take place Feb. 21, at the UTPA campus in Edinburg.