Duh, the answer is yes. Anyone who has been to Winter Institute, the ABA's bookseller education event, in the last three years has come back raving about the intense experience of professional development, camaraderie, new book discoveries, and just plain fun -- it's one of those mountaintop high experiences that brings you back to the bookstore with a huge morale boost and an arsenal of new tools to make the store better and become a better bookseller.
When we Emerging Leaders Council members met with the leaders of Ingram Book Company back in August, we agreed that one of the best things we could do for our constituency -- that is, younger booksellers still working on creating a career in bookstores -- was to get them to that experience. It's one of the ways to empower the next generation to keep bookstores growing and thriving into the future.
And Ingram, which believes in that future, put their money where their mouth is. They have agreed to sponsor six full scholarships for Emerging Leaders to get them to Winter Institute. The American Booksellers' Association is also sponsoring an EL scholarship, so that means there are seven chances for young booksellers to get to WI for free.
We're particularly excited that the upcoming WI (which is Thursday, January 29, through Sunday, February 1) will be held in Salt Lake City. The town is home to not only a groundbreaking "buy local first" initiative spearheaded by stellar bookstore The King's English, but also to King's English events coordinator and EL Council member Jenn Northington! And when it's in her hometown, you know that means the EL party at WI is going to be off the hook...
The deadline for applying for the scholarships is November 1. So what are you waiting for?? Send us an email already! And tell all the young booksellers you know about this great opportunity!
Here are the official details:
Emerging Leaders scholarships will cover all travel and hotel costs; the Winter Institute itself is free. Booksellers can apply directly for the scholarship, or store owners may nominate their employees. Application is via email to the Emerging Leaders Council: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The e-mail should identify the candidate, the region, and the store in which she or he works (with contact information). In addition, information should be provided about the candidate's role in the store, his or her feelings about bookselling, the candidate's potential for a long-term bookselling career, and how she or he might benefit from the Winter Institute. Applicants should put "Scholarship" in the e-mail subject line.
Scholarship winners will be selected by the Emerging Leaders Council. The deadline for entries is November 1, 2008.
Questions about the scholarships may be directed to the Emerging Leaders Council or to any of the seven council members / regional reps; contact information can be found on the Emerging Leaders website.