The Booksellers Association (BA) is launching an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Group, as part of its work to improve diversity within bookselling and the wider trade.
It will examine the diversity challenges within bookselling as a career, representation in titles and how booksellers engage with publishers and other groups within the industry. These findings and recommendations will help set the BA’s agenda for future diversity and inclusion projects.
The BA is inviting members to engage with the initiative, helping to identify key goals, set agendas for the membership, and assist the BA executive to create resources and guidance for booksellers on how to boost diversity work.
Meryl Halls, m.d. of the BA, said: “As we know, the pandemic has only increased inequality in our society, and with bookshops reopening, the time feels right for the BA and its members to return to the key areas of equality and inclusion. Bookshops have a role to play in ensuring that children have access to reading, that readers find books that speak to them, and that communities can start flourishing again.
“As we look ahead, we intend to work with our members to move equality and inclusion back up the agenda and to start making inroads into the challenges facing our industry, so we can emerge post-pandemic stronger, more relevant, diverse and representative than ever.”
The new group builds on previous initiatives including the publication of its Guide to Creating an Inclusive Bookshop, and the launch of the Diversity & Inclusiveness Grant Project, which gave away nearly £50,000 to BA members for diversity and inclusion initiatives, including writing groups, installing wheelchair ramps, and LGBT youth engagement programmes.
Its first virtual meeting is planner for early summer, once bookshops have fully reopened and are able to begin looking ahead to a post-Covid-19 world. Booksellers interested in joining the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Group should contact Halls at the BA.