The “Do We Need to Talk?: Surviving the Political and Cultural Divide With Your Co-Workers” education session at Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will present an important conversation that has come up for booksellers more and more in recent years: navigating issues that arise at work amid today’s divisive political commentary and the reports of cultural and social misconduct that continue to be highlighted in both national and local media.
Because bookstores are both social meeting places and businesses, many booksellers are currently struggling with the resulting personal and professional pressures felt on the job, including what that means for the inventory on their shelves and the authors they feature. In this session, experienced booksellers will talk about how to find solutions to these conflicts, as well as about some of the questions owners, managers, and staff should be asking themselves.
Panelists for this session are Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.; Amanda Ibarra of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Lane Jacobson, owner of Paulina Springs Books in Paulina Springs, Oregon; and Angela Maria Spring, owner of Duende District Books in D.C. and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The panel will be moderated by Dr. Robert G. DelCampo, the inaugural executive director of the University of New Mexico Innovation Academy and current interim dean of University College at the University of New Mexico. His teaching expertise is in organizational behavior and human resource management, and his research focuses on underrepresented members of the workforce, generational issues at work, work-family conflict, turnover, and psychological contracts. DelCampo said he anticipates a fascinating and helpful discussion for attending booksellers.
The session will take on “some pretty typical employee relations-type issues that people face on a day-to-day basis that aren’t necessarily unique to booksellers,” said DelCampo. “They’re ones that people have been dealing with for a while, and obviously they are magnified in this political climate, but I think that there are some strategies out there that can help folks to address this.”
DelCampo said he is especially curious to see what comes up in this session because there will be time for comments and discussion at the end, and many audience members will likely have a relevant personal experience they want to share.
“I think everybody experiences these sorts of things at work, and it’s just magnified because of the temperature of the issues today,” he said. “These days, socially aware consumers are so much more empowered — today, that’s such a big part of what booksellers do. Consumers are deciding that they are not going to buy books that this person wrote, or that they don’t like this charity that this bookstore supported, so they are not going to shop there. It seems like a much bigger issue now.”
“Do We Need to Talk?: Surviving the Political and Cultural Divide With Your Co-Workers” will be held on Friday, January 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Albuquerque Convention Center, 27 Lower West ACC, in the Picarus/Sandia/Santa Ana Room.