Linda-Marie Barrett Named SIBA Executive Director

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Linda-Marie BarrettThe Search Committee and Board of Directors of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) has announced the selection of Linda-Marie Barrett as SIBA’s incoming executive director beginning June 16, 2020, when current Executive Director Wanda Jewell retires. “I’m leaving SIBA in better hands than my own, and that feels really good,” said Jewell. “I couldn’t be more delighted.”

Said Barrett, “During this very dynamic time in our industry, SIBA needs, more than ever, to offer programming that addresses current member needs. This means being in constant conversation with member bookstores to hear what’s happening ‘on the ground,’ looking outside our industry for opportunities, and considering new partnerships in communities and regionally. My passion, and SIBA’s primary goal, is to give booksellers the tools they need to be successful and achieve their dreams. I’m so honored to be taking on this role and look forward to working with the SIBA Board and all our member bookstores to see what possibilities we can create together.”

Barrett was chosen in a unanimous decision after a four-month search. “The SIBA Executive Director Search Committee has completed an exhaustive pursuit,” said Search Committee member Shane Gottwals of Gottwals Books in Byron, Georgia. “While we talked to many qualified and motivated candidates, it was abundantly clear that Linda-Marie Barrett is just the right person to lead SIBA. She knows the industry and can relate to the needs of core members in an unparalleled way.”

Barrett brings to the position 30 years of experience in the industry as a bookseller at all levels, from frontline bookseller to senior buyer, manager, and co-owner of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville, North Carolina. While at Malaprop’s, she played a leading role as a bookseller advocate and activist, and her op-ed piece responding to author boycotts of bookstores in the wake of North Carolina’s H.B. 2 controversy was published in the New York Times.

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and the former president of the American Booksellers Association, wrote in support of Barrett’s selection, “My admiration for Linda-Marie runs deep. She possesses a rare core of qualities that will guarantee success in this new position; she’s incredibly organized, creative, entrepreneurial, and passionate about independent bookselling, and independent bookselling in the South, to be specific.”

Barrett is a past Board member of SIBA and has worked extensively with the American Booksellers Association, serving on the Booksellers Advisory Council and as a presenter at Winter Institute. For the past three years she has been SIBA’s assistant executive director, responsible for much of the day-to-day operations of the organization. As assistant executive director, Barrett spearheaded the development of SIBA’s online educational programming, which has resulted in over a dozen webinars on a wide range of topics including inventory activism, time management, podcasting, managing expenses, and launching a book festival.

“SIBA stands like a beacon in the world of regional trade associations because of Wanda Jewell’s 30 years of dedication,” noted Gottwals. “Our new executive director has a mighty legacy to follow, but Linda-Marie Barrett has the skills and experience required to keep us shining brightly for many years to come.”

For more information contact SIBA at [email protected].