A special edition episode of Counterspeak, the monthly podcast from the American Booksellers for Free Expression (ABFE), is now available for download. The episode features audio from the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute education session “Bookstores Launch the Open Discussion Project.”
Hosted by independent bookstores, the Open Discussion Project is a reading group aimed at bringing together readers with divergent viewpoints. The education session panel featured booksellers who launched the Open Discussion Project in their stores and was moderated by Chris Finan, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).
The Open Discussion Project is led by NCAC, ABFE, and the National Institute of Civil Discourse (NICD), and is being piloted at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, California; Anderson’s Bookshop in Chicago and Naperville, Illinois; Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.; Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire; and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina. During the session, Finan and the booksellers discussed the challenges faced in facilitating the Open Discussion Project, including recruiting conservative participants for the group and fostering dialogue versus debate, and the bookstores’ successes.
Counterspeak, which launched in December, is co-hosted by American Booksellers Association Content Director Sydney Jarrard; Director of ABFE, Advocacy, and Public Policy Dave Grogan; and Advocacy and Public Policy Coordinator Maria Peroni. The podcast addresses issues pertaining to free expression and the First Amendment.
Each month, Counterspeak features interviews with experts on the First Amendment and free speech, as well as discussions on relevant current events. A new episode is available on the first Wednesday of every month on BookWeb, Spotify, and iTunes. For more information, check out Counterspeak’s short introductory episode.