Host: Stephanie Heinz
Participants: Ruth (PRH), Stephanie (Print), Donna (Kepler’s), Kim (Third Place Books), Charlie (Kepler’s), Nasim (Alta Journal)
What has been done?
- Used to have Emerging Leaders and then Indies Forward
- Emerging Leaders kind of petered out as people moved into management & ownership
- DEIC was a direct result of Indies Forward’s work — Indies Forward now entering same stage of people who were running it are now taking on management/ownership
- Potential uptick of people making career changes post-Covid — people could be joining bookselling at various stages of their lives/careers
What can we do to establish/support whatever the next group is?
- Each generation of bookselling life brings new ideas without knowing how to implement them
- Groups growing organically offers a sense of ownership, but also creates gaps
- A lot of booksellers have now spent a large portion of their career in the pandemic–gaining experience where they are but cut off from other forms of mentorship and education from conferences, etc
- Publisher sponsorship for mentorship activities?
What do people want from mentorship?
- A space to make connections with other booksellers, get perspectives beyond coworkers
- Receive guidance and support in developing careers
- Cross pollination of ideas
- Giving booksellers permission and tools to advocate for themselves and develop career path plans
- Pretty consistent and constant turnover with younger staff & burnout with managers/owners
- Bookselling is often a non-traditional business model, owners might not have in mind more formal structures like annual check-ins
- Professional development but also making personal connections, building friendships with other booksellers
- Easier access to follow through, building relationships beyond conferences
- The barrier for being a bookstore owner has shifted with the advent of more pop-ups and bookshop.org — changes the idea of what makes you a “senior” bookseller, someone who can offer mentorship
What does exist already?
- FB groups — can become echo chambers/spaces where conversations aren’t able to continue forward
- Regional Conferences — energy virtually isn’t the same as in person, could become a really magical opportunity in 2022.
- ABC Group Discord
- Mentor program at conferences
What is the framework?
- Do we want an ABA or regional sponsored program?
- Zoom fatigue is major right now
- The voice & video functions feel less pressure and formality than zoom
- Create a space where people can make connections before conferences
- People roll their eyes at ice breakers but also they can be real helpful–bonding over awkward experiences. Sharing things you might not be prompted to share otherwise
- When in-person activities are an option again, sitting next to someone new