The two young women leafed through many books before they stopped and found something completely unexpected: a book that included a story about one of their great-great grandfathers! The two showed off the book to everyone in line as they waited to pay at last year’s UTPA Alumni Used Book Sale held last year during FESTIBA 2010. There may well be more gems to find at this year’s sale, slated for Saturday, April 2, during FESTIBA 2011 on the UTPA campus.

“That was certainly very gratifying,” Arnoldo Mata, UTPA Alumni Used Book Sale committee chair, said. “These women were in their late teens and they were really excited to see their relative mentioned in a book about early Texas settlers. They were jumping up and down. I know people find special books at our book sales, but this was truly thrilling even for me.”

“This is our third annual sale, and we already expect to have a lot more books available than the last two events,” Mata said. “We are already starting to collect books for the sale. We are asking all of our alumni in South Texas to start gathering their books in preparation for the sale.”

 “We have a very diverse collection of books,” Mata said. “We have just about something for everybody. As always, we have a large number of mystery, spy, thriller, romance, cookbooks, every type of fiction, home and hobby items, and children’s books. History books are also big this year. We have a couple of editions that are at least 100 years old.”

As a result of the book sale, the UTPA Alumni Association will be able to provide several book scholarships for deserving UTPA students.

“We started this project because we wanted to raise some awareness about the need for more scholarship funds, but it turned out to be a great event for the many book lovers in the Valley who were able to come out to find some terrific books that they might not have been able to find otherwise,” Mata said.

The UTPA Alumni Association will be holding a book collection drive between now and the sale. People can drop off books at Osffice Furniture USA at 1008 E Pecan Blvd in McAllen at anytime. However, the group will be holding its final collection on Saturday, March 26 at the Office Furniture USA location.

Anyone interested in the UTPA Alumni Used Book Sale can contact Arnoldo Mata at or they can contact the UTPA Office of Alumni Relations at (956) 381-2500.