Spring Forums to Feature Discussion on Bookstores as Inclusive Places for Dialogue and Discussion

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In response to member feedback and requests, in addition to their usual Open Forum discussions on topics of concern to booksellers, the American Booksellers Association’s Spring Forums will feature a non-traditional education session aimed at helping booksellers meet the needs of customers who are increasingly coming to bookstores for connection and communication, as well as for sources of a diverse range of voices and viewpoints.

The interactive discussion “Bookstores — An Inclusive Place for Dialogue and Discovery” will be led at each of the 10 Spring Forums by an ABA Board member. Attending booksellers will be expected to share ideas and brainstorm about how they can foster communication and create opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds to express and respond to differing views in the welcoming setting of a bookstore. 

The discussions, which will take place in both large and small group settings, will help booksellers clarify strategies for strengthening the unique role that bookstores play in their communities.

“Since the presidential election, last November, and continuing up through the Town Hall and Bookseller Discussion sessions at the Winter Institute in Minnesota, booksellers have been talking with colleagues and customers about the best way to ensure that bookstores fulfill the unique role they play in their communities,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “This new session for the Spring Forums, a departure from our traditional educational programming, comes directly from that bookseller input. For it to succeed, all attendees will be asked to participate in small- and large-group discussions, brainstorming, and idea-sharing. We hope a wide variety of opinions will be shared in a respectful and collegial setting, with a premium on listening as well as talking. With robust bookseller participation, we are confident that productive ideas and contributions will emerge.” 

As usual, the Spring Forums will be presented in conjunction with the regional booksellers associations and booksellers will have the opportunity during the Open Forum to discuss any of their concerns related to ABA, the book industry in general, and other issues. The spring forum discussions are a critically important vehicle for ABA to gather feedback from members, and all are encouraged to come prepared to discuss their concerns.

All indie booksellers — ABA members and non-members alike — are invited to take part in a forum in their area.

The 2017 Spring Forum season kicks off in Atlanta on March 7; watch for more details in next week’s issue.

The 2017 ABA Spring Forum Schedule