The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) announced today that it has received a $40,000 grant from the Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts. The grant, which honors SIBA’s 40 years of support for Southern independent bookstores, will be dedicated to bringing every SIBA member store to SIBA’s 40th Anniversary Discovery Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 18-20.
“It is a marvelous statement of support for the importance of independent bookselling,” said Executive Director Wanda Jewell, “and we’re going to rise to the challenge to bring 100% of SIBA member bookstores to Raleigh in 2015. Reba and Dave will be on hand to kick off the show as the Keynotes at our Industry Breakfast in Raleigh on September 18,2015.”
“As Southerners, however displaced in Yankee-land, Dave and I are big believers in Southern books and bookstores, and the Southern literary tradition,” said Reba Williams. “We just celebrated our 7th annual Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction—the prize going to Liza Palmer for her Nowhere But Home, the first time we’ve had a winning book set in Dave’s home state of Texas.” Dave added, “There’s some self-interest here, too. Reba’s third Coleman and Dinah Greene mystery, Bloody Royal Prints, will be published next year, and my memoir of our 40 years of print collecting, Small Victories: One couple’s surprising adventures building an unrivaled collection of American prints will be out in December.”
Jewell said The Reba and Dave Williams Foundation has been a strong supporter of SIBA in the past –sponsoring scholarships for bookstores to attend the annual fall trade show in 2013 and 2014. “Our members regularly tell us their experience at the show—the things they learn and the connections they make with publishers and other booksellers—is one of the most valuable business resources they have. Large store or small, everyone seems to come away from the show with new ideas and new energy,” said Jewell.
SIBA’s membership averages between 150 and 175 independent, brick-and-mortar bookstores. But because SIBA’s territory extends across the entire lower eastern quarter of the United States, it can be difficult for some booksellers to travel the distances required, or arrange for time away from their own shops in order to attend the show, Jewell went on to explain. “But in 2015, no more excuses!” she said smiling. Thanks to the Reba and Dave Williams Foundation, which has been named SIBA’s 2015 Signature Sponsor, SIBA feels it has the resources to get every single one of its member bookstores to their 2015 show.
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