The next American Booksellers Association Coffee Break meeting space for BIPOC — Black, Indigenous, or People of Color — booksellers and bookstore owners to gather for connection, support, community, resources, and networking will be held on Thursday, October 1, at 6:00 p.m. ET on Zoom. BIPOC allies and booksellers who do not identify as BIPOC should not plan to attend.
ABA staff will not be in attendance. However, Zoom logistics require someone to be the “host” of the session. For that reason, ABA is seeking a volunteer from those planning to attend to assume the role of host. A host will be responsible for logging in 15-20 minutes early to review the meeting settings and controls; admitting attendees from the waiting room; removing someone from the session if needed; and ending the meeting.
Booksellers and store owners interested in attending should email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom information and indicate if they are willing to act as host. Note: Each BIPOC Coffee Break meeting has a new password, so please be sure to email for details.
The results of the BIPOC Coffee Break facilitator survey sent earlier this month indicated that opinions were closely divided on whether these sessions should be facilitated, then closely split again on what type of facilitator to have if one is present. The options were:
- A fellow BIPOC bookseller
- A fellow BIPOC bookseller and it’s okay if they are also on the ABA Board
- A professional with a diversity background to help guide the conversation and make sure everyone who wants to talk gets a chance
- A professional with a diversity background who can help guide the conversation and make sure everyone who wants to talk gets a chance, but who also might have insights to offer on topics that come up
With the results in mind, along with other attendee feedback received since the start of the BIPOC Coffee Breaks, the monthly sessions for the remainder of the year (October, November, and December) will not have a facilitator present. For the first session of 2021 (date to be announced), a few ABA staff members will be present in order to to discuss with attendees what they want from the meetings going forward, whether they want a facilitator and what kind, and any topics they want to bring up with ABA.