Booksellers Enthusiastically Sign On to Indies First Storytime Day

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Following last week’s announcement of Indies First Storytime Day, booksellers have begun inviting their favorite local authors to host an in-store storytime on the day of the event, May 17, 2014, to foster a celebration of the love of reading within their communities. Authors, booksellers, and publishers have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #IndiesFirst to show their support and spread the word.

Indies First Storytime Day, which is being spearheaded by author Kate DiCamillo, is a continuation of last November’s grassroots Indies First movement initiated by Sherman Alexie as a way for authors to show their appreciation for independent bookstores. Indies First Storytime Day asks authors to volunteer at their local indie bookstores to read aloud a story of their choice. Booksellers who have already signed on to participate have voiced their enthusiasm about this new opportunity to connect authors and readers.

“We’re always happy to have the opportunity to further our relationship with local authors,” said Cindy Dach, co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. “The idea of bringing in authors to engage the next generation of readers is really exciting for us. I think everybody that was read to as a child has a strong memory of it. We recreate that here weekly with our storytimes, and it’s just really special.”

At Bookbug in Kalamazoo, Michigan, co-owner Joanna Parzakonis said, “We’re so encouraged at the prospect of authors becoming a meaningful part of the operation of the bookstore. [During last year’s celebration of Indies First,] I was happy to see how at home the authors were in the store. To see their passion for their colleagues’ work and their desire to connect to customers was really heartening to us.”

For Bookbug, which specializes in children’s literature, “having authors come in and read their favorite storytime books in a creative way will be great fun for us, and the kids and parents we hope to have in the store that day,” she added.

Like Sherman Alexie, Kate DiCamillo is a great leader for this type of event, Parzakonis said. “She is so well-known among our customers and a great champion for the cause of reading and holding community conversations about books –– precisely what indies stand for and do every day.”

Bookstores and authors should contact each other directly to make plans for Indies First Storytime Day. The American Booksellers Association has provided a number of resources to help streamline the process. The Indies First Event Participation Guidelines outline the ways in which authors and illustrators can support the movement –– year-round and by participating in dedicated Indies First events. Authors who wish to participate in Indies First Storytime Day but do not have a particular bookstore in mind can sign up via the Volunteer Sign-up page, and their names will appear in an index on BookWeb that bookstores will be able to access in order to make arrangements with the author.

When booksellers have lined up one or more author visits, they can complete the Event Detail Form on BookWeb, and the participating bookstore’s location will automatically appear on IndieBound’s Event Map within a few days of the submission.

Links to all Indies First Storytime Day resources can be found on the ABA Promotions page on BookWeb.

Indies First Storytime day is taking place in conjunction with Children’s Book Week, which runs from May 12 –18, and ABA is working with the Children’s Book Council to help facilitate and grow the grassroots movement.