Chuck Robinson, of Village Books and Paper Dreams, and Richard Hunt, of AdventureKEEN, recently visited Staci and Jim Stuart, owners of Stirling Books & Brew in Albion, MI. They stopped to talk about how Binc and the Albion community came to Jim and Staci’s aid after Staci suffered a spinal injury just days before the store was set to open. You can join Chuck and Richard in supporting Binc, click here. You can also join in helping Staci with her recovery here.
The fifth American Booksellers Association ABC Children’s Institute provided Binc with the opportunity to connect with booksellers, publishers, store owners and authors.
The event featured a number of excellent panels and keynote speakers, including: Ilsa Govan, Jason Reynolds and Rachel Ignotofsky. Binc Board member and Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association Executive Director Deb Leonard provided a great summary in her organization’s most recent newsletter.
CI5 was an awesome experience- honestly, I was awestruck many times. The authors were wonderful, the education was helpful and informative, but this year everything else was blown away by the speakers.
The opening keynote was Ilsa Govan, author of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for facilitating Conversations on Race by Rowman & Littlefield. With just a few short exercises, Ms Govan showed us how to illustrate some innate biases that we all have. Her program showed ways to talk about race, culture and gender in non-confrontational ways. It was a knock out!
Jason Reynolds has been a winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; the Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Walter Dean Myers Award, winner of the Time Book of the Year and of the Kirkus Award, not to mention being a National Book Award Finalist. Jason is always highly entertaining, as well-as thought-provoking, and he was at his best here. If you ever have doubts about what a difference books can make in a child’s life, watch this program.
A conversation between Phillip and Erin Stead and their editor highlighted the journey from a scribbled note found buried in Mark Twain’s Files to the amazing The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine coming in September from Doubleday. The painstaking process of creating an illustrated book from a few notes from America’s best known author was daunting, but after hearing the Steads relate their efforts to bring this story to life, I am sure this will be a publishing event not to be forgotten.
Marley Dias is a 13-year-old black girl who was frustrated by not finding a single story in her school’s library that featured young black girls doing ordinary or even exciting things. Not one featuring a brainiac black girl astronaut with her trailblazing space poodle; not one with a fierce black girl fashion designer with her frisky Rottweiler on a rhinestone leash; not one about a black girl forensic anthropologist wither her inquisitive collie. So, she decided that she would collect books with black girls as the main character. Not just a few books, but 1000 books! And she would give them away to places they were needed most. Marley started her campaign, and #1000BlackGirlBooks was born. Marley was a featured speaker at White House United State of Women Summit, named “Coolest kid in America” by Ebony Magazine, selected by Teen Vogue as among the “10 amazing Black women who are changing the game”, and on and on. Her book Marley Dias Gets it Done is coming from Scholastic this fall. This young lady should be on your radar!
The closing keynote speaker was Rachel Ignotofsky, author of Women in Science by Ten Speed Press. It was a fascinating talk about combining illustration and science literacy. One of the most interesting details was that as she began the research for this book, Ms Ignotofsky expected that the reason there weren’t many well-known female scientists is because there weren’t many women who had opportunities to do become scientists. To her (and our) great surprise, she found that there were hundreds in almost every discipline! It was shocking, but not surprising that many, many women had achieved great success in many scientific endeavors, but that, because they were women, they had never been recognized. She intends to continue her search for unsung women with a book on Women in Sports coming this fall from Ten Speed.
Binc Scholarship recipient Kimberly Cake, of Enchanted Passage in Sutton Massachusetts was among the panelists included in a discussion on making a store more accessible for patrons and staff with disabilities. You can read more about it in Shelf Awareness.
Cake wasn’t the only Binc scholarship winner to make some waves in Portland. Sue Roegge of Chapter2Books participated in the question-and-answer portion of the presentation by Marley Dias on the need for diversity in school libraries and her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign.
Between panels and keynote speakers, CI participants stopped by the Binc Foundation consultation station. Representatives from bookstores, other nonprofits, publishers and more visited with Executive Director Pam French to talk about the importance of our safety net for booksellers.
“As a first-time attendee, the energy and enthusiasm at Children’s Institute were inspiring!” French said. “I loved everything from the keynote presentations to the author reception to meeting booksellers and authors. This was the perfect place to let booksellers know about Binc and how the Foundation can help out when life doesn’t go as planned.”
The event was a sink-or-swim test for new Communication Coordinator Adam Gac, who was promptly overwhelmed by the incredible positivity of the children’s book industry professionals.
“Everyone was so excited to be there and to grow together. Even though I’m still new to the job, long-time Binc supporters and former grant recipients made me feel like I was part of the family,” Gac said.
Some of the results from our recent bookseller survey both surprised and saddened us. While 31% of you said you had been in a position of needing emergency assistance in the past two years, only 7.6% of you applied to Binc for help. Our goal has always been to have every bookseller in need look to Binc for assistance. We want you all to Think Binc first when you need help. We know we have a long way to go to reach that goal, and only when each and every booksellers reaches out to Binc first will we have succeeded. To help reach that goal, we need to clear up some common misconceptions about the Foundation.
Here are the reasons booksellers gave for not applying to Binc, and why those reasons shouldn’t deter you.
“I wasn’t aware Binc existed.” We are working hard to reach each and every bookseller across the country. With the help of the ABA, the regional bookseller associations, Ingram, edelweiss, Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, industry leaders, bookstore owners & managers and booksellers, we have made great strides. But clearly we have farther to go. You can help as well; when you visit bookstores be sure to tell the bookstore employees about Binc. Remind them to ThinkBinc!
“I didn’t think I’d qualify.” We want every bookseller with a need to call us. Often when a you think you won’t qualify, you do. Give us a chance to talk about your challenge and see how Binc can help. We can’t always give a financial grant, but we promise to not leave you without resources to help you through your situation.
“I was afraid others would find out.” We pride ourselves on confidential and compassionate service. You can call Binc toll free at 866-733-9064 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, apply, receive assistance and no one outside Binc will ever know. We never reveal the names of any of our grant recipients without their full and enthusiastic approval.
“I was too embarrassed to ask for assistance.” Binc isn’t here to judge, we are here to help. Needing a helping hand shouldn’t be embarrassing, we all need a little help now and then. Binc wants to help at the first sign of the hardship, saving you months of potential stress over how to pay your bills.
“It seemed like too much paperwork.” We try to simplify the application process, asking for only the documents we are legally required to collect. We have streamlined our application as much as possible. We want the process to be easy and not to create more stress for you.
“The whole process was confusing.” We know that the stress of a financial hardship can be overwhelming. Call us and we can walk you through the steps to apply. Don’t let temporary confusion lead to an overwhelming debt burden in the future.
“I figured there was somebody else who might have a bigger need.” If you are having trouble paying your bills, then there is no one with a bigger need. We are constantly working to raise funds from industry supporters to make sure that there will always be enough money to cover bookseller’s needs, big or small. Also, we know that helping someone with a small need today can prevent it from turning into a larger need down the road.
“I’m a bookstore owner, not an employee.” If you make your living from the bookstore, whether owner or employee, then you are eligible. Owners can have needs that are just as great as their employees. Often, helping an owner overcome personal financial hardships is what allows the bookstore to remain open, and therefore keeping other bookselling jobs.
“My bookstore closed, so I wasn’t eligible.” Binc can now help employees who qualify for up to 12 months after the closing of the bookstore.
“I received enough support through other channels.” OK, this may be the only answer that is acceptable. But for those who don’t have other alternatives, ThinkBinc!
If this letter has any effect, we hope it is to encourage you and your fellow booksellers to call us. We only exist to help booksellers through whatever life throws at you. Whether we help by paying your bills, provide you with additional resources in your area, help you mediate medical bills, or combination of all three, we promise to do all we can to help you get through the difficulty you are facing.
Remember, there is a 100% chance we won’t help if you don’t contact us!
Chuck co-owns Village Books in Bellingham, WA with his wife Dee Robinson, which they have run for 35 years. He’s also a sustaining contributor to the Binc Foundation, and is supporting Binc on his ride because “it has been instrumental in helping booksellers who have suffered hardships or emergencies, and in providing scholarships for higher education. It’s a great foundation – and a way for booksellers and friends to help booksellers.” Since 1996, Binc has provided more than $5.2 million to more than 6,900 families. The Foundation was imagined and built by booksellers and proudly continues to be their safety net.
Binc is thrilled to announce that bookseller Chuck Robinson – co-owner of Village Books in Bellingham, Washington – is pedaling 2400 miles, from Bellingham, WA to Galva, Illinois, to support Binc and two other community foundations!