The Booksellers Association has today announced the launch of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group as part of its work to improve diversity within bookselling and the wider publishing world.
The Action Group will examine the diversity challenges within bookselling as a career, representation issues around titles, and how booksellers engage with publishers and other groups within the industry. These findings and recommendations will help to set the BA’s agenda for future diversity and inclusion projects, furthering its position as a force for change in the industry.
The BA is inviting members to engage with the Action Group, 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 work being done around diversity.
Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the Booksellers Association, said: “We are pleased to announce the creation of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group, as part of our continued commitment to advancing inclusivity within the bookselling community. 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 creation of the Action Group builds on previous Booksellers Association initiatives such as the publication of the Guide to Creating an Inclusive Bookshop, and the launch of the Diversity & Inclusiveness Grant Project, which gave away close to £50,000 to BA members for diversity and inclusion projects, including BAME writing groups, wheelchair ramps, LGBT youth engagement programmes and more.
The BA is planning to convene the first Action Group virtual meeting in early Summer, once bookshops have fully reopened and are able to begin looking ahead to a post-COVID world. Booksellers interested in joining the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group should contact Meryl Halls at the BA in the first instance.