Former ABA President Robert Sindelar on Joining the ABA Board of Directors

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Booksellers are invited to nominate a qualified candidate (or themselves) now to stand for election to the American Booksellers Association Board of Directors in 2021. Nominating takes just a few minutes, and nominations are due by October 30. Learn more about the Board of Directors election process here.

Former ABA Board President and six-year board member Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books in Seattle joined last week’s ABA Coffee Break to briefly discuss his experience with serving on the ABA Board of Directors.

Booksellers should think about nominating themselves or others for the board, said Sindelar, because it’s a great way to engage, you get to join an amazing group of booksellers, and you learn a lot.

“One thing that stopped me from trying to join the board earlier was I was kind of waiting to be invited,” said Sindelar. “That’s the wrong approach. It’s not something you should wait for someone else to tell you to do. If it’s right for you, you should nominate yourself.”

In terms of a time commitment, Sindelar said he was able to find time for his work as a general board member (before becoming vice president and then president) “relatively easily.” Traveling allowed him to see other stores and parts of the country he otherwise wouldn’t have. And the experience, he said, has made him much better equipped for the pandemic because of how much he learned from serving on the board.

Additionally, Sindelar noted, he realized that joining the board would empower him to instigate change. “I can sit on the sidelines and complain or say that other people should be doing a better job, or I can stand up and sit at the table and try to make that change myself,” he said. “I felt like that was a great way to get started, to allow your ideas to be heard and be part of the change that you want to see happen.”