In October, Molly Bond joined the staff of the American Booksellers Association as the new Advocacy and Public Policy Coordinator.
Bond reports to Dave Grogan, Director of ABFE, Advocacy, and Public Policy. Her primary responsibilities include assisting Grogan in his mission of serving as ABA’s primary contact for public policy matters while also helping him carry out his responsibilities of ABA’s free expression, readers’ rights, and First Amendment efforts. Bond’s job will entail providing input for formulating campaign strategy, including regularly scanning and monitoring the policy and advocacy landscape for issues of import to independent bookselling.
Bond’s position will also require her to create and write relevant content, including press releases and articles for Bookselling This Week; to help with member outreach and communications, including acting as a point of contact for ABA members and fielding inquiries regarding ABFE and advocacy issues; and to help build relationships with elected officials, businesses, and coalitions on behalf of ABA.
Bond graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2018, where she concentrated in public sociology and criminology while minoring in human rights and genocide studies. At Ramapo, Bond worked in multiple research assistant positions where she researched and wrote about topics including Holocaust survivors who were resettled in New Jersey and the 2016 presidential election. In the last position she held, she assisted two professors as they recreated an academic reader about democracy and the history of social thought. She also interned with the educational nonprofit Student/Partner Alliance.
While she loved studying sociology, Bond told BTW that she felt like she did not have the tools to make substantial change. “I was aware of all these problems with no way to fix them,” she said. “So I decided to go to graduate school.”
Bond went on to receive a master’s degree in public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 2019. While there, she focused her studies on social policy.
Bond told BTW that her current position at ABA blends all of her different interests perfectly. “I’ve always loved reading and writing. I am always craving to learn more about the world, and reading books is one of the best ways to do that,” she said. “I was immediately attracted to ABA once I realized that I could engage in crucial policy work in an environment that is centered on books and reading.”
“Part of the reason I went to graduate school right out of undergrad was because I wanted to make a real change in the world,” Bond added. “While getting my MPA degree, I was exposed to a lot of public policy analysis, and this job allows me to work toward making real change while also using my skills in the public policy realm.”
Already, Bond said that the job has granted her the opportunity to expand her knowledge of antitrust and free speech issues. She’s also looking forward to working with ABFE’s free speech podcast, Counterspeak, as well as attending ABFE’s Antitrust Symposium next year in Washington, D.C.
“The Antitrust Symposium will be a great opportunity for booksellers to learn more about antitrust from very knowledgeable panelists,” she said. “There will also be an opportunity for booksellers to meet with Congressional staff from their districts.”
Overall, Bond is excited to work with indie bookstores around the country. Said Bond, “Especially in this day and age with the Big Tech takeover, indie bookstores are so important to the American way of life. Indie bookstores create a sense of community in towns and cities in a way that large corporations cannot.”
“If we allow only a select few companies to control what reading material we have access to, we are, in a way, censoring ourselves,” Bond added. “Indie bookstores help ensure that an array of different ideas is heard.”