A Missouri bookseller has won the fifth Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists awarded by the Friends of Carla Gray Committee and the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation.
Riley Glissendorf from Stonecrest Book and Toy in Osage Beach, Missouri, will receive a year-long scholarship for professional development, which includes travel and hotel to attend Winter Institute 2024, travel and hotel to attend their 2024 regional fall tradeshow and a $1,000 stipend to fund a community outreach project.
“I am unbelievably honored to be the chosen recipient of the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller – Activists,” said Glissendorf. “Bookselling has not only cemented my passion for the arts, literature, writing and activism, it continues to inspire me within my communities, local, state, and that of humanhood. The resources provided by Binc will allow Stonecrest Book and Toy and I to persist in the progression of our rural community by ensuring that children have access to inclusive literature with diverse characters that reflect them.”
The scholarship is intended to help a bookseller with fewer than five years of experience connect with other booksellers, publishers and authors, and establish the long-term relationships needed to keep the book industry thriving. The community outreach component is focused on finding new readers and ensuring access to books that improve readers’ lives while integrating bookstores even more fully into their communities.
Glissendorf applied for the grant to start a fund for school-aged children who want to read LGBTQIA+, POC and other banned works after a communal uprising over LGBTQIA+ literature in the local school district led to a call for the removal of LGBTQIA+ books and staff members.
“Bookstores are the heart of a thriving community,” said Binc Executive Director Pam French, “and supporting emerging booksellers and encouraging their engagement in their community is critical to the future of bookselling and the larger book industry. Thank you to all the applicants in what was the scholarship’s largest and most competitive pool, and congratulations Riley, we look forward to learning more about your outreach project and seeing its impact.”