ABA Announces 2021 Board Candidates

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Petition Process Opens for Additional Candidates

The American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors, which met in January, approved the ABA Nominating Committee’s recommendation of five candidates to stand for election to three-year terms as directors on the ABA Board.

Michelle Malonzo of Changing Hands in Tempe, Arizona, is also joining the board to serve the remainder of director Chris Morrow's two-year term, which ends in 2022. Morrow, who owns Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Manchester Center, Vermont, is leaving the board for personal reasons.

Recommended to stand for election to three-year terms (2021-2024) are:

Caine has not previously served on the ABA Board.

Cumsky-Whitlock and Knight were appointed to the board in September 2020, following member-approved bylaws changes that grew the board to 13 directors (from 11) and required at least four directors to be Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. 

Estep and Spring are coming to the end of their first three-year terms on the board and are eligible for a second three-year term. 

In a related action, the board selected current ABA Vice President Bradley Graham of Politics & Prose in Washintgon, D.C., for a two-year term as ABA president, and Estep and Christine Onorati of Word Bookstores in Brooklyn, New York, and Jersey City, New Jersey, as ABA co-vice president/secretary. Their selection by the board must be ratified by ABA membership.

Leaving the board will be ABA Board President Jamie Fiocco of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who is coming to the end of her two-year term as president.

A ballot for the 2021 board elections will be sent to ABA members via email at the end of March, 60 days prior to the Annual Membership Meeting; the deadline for return of the ballots will be April 27. The ballot will include space for write-in candidates, and the winners will be announced in BTW on April 28. The ABA Membership Meeting will be held on May 27, 2021, in a virtual forum. 

Under ABA Bylaws, any bookstore member may submit petitions to have the names of additional candidates for board officers and/or directors added to the ballot. Should bookstore members wish to submit a petition, the following apply:

  • A candidate must be an employee or owner of an ABA member bookstore. The member bookstore must be in good standing, and the individual candidate must have at least three years’ experience in a bookstore-member company.
  • Each petition can present only one candidate and, to be valid, must name a candidate who meets the qualifications for office established under the Bylaws.
  • Booksellers who wish to petition to be put on the ballot should ask their supporters to email [email protected] with their endorsement of the petitioner; the supporters will then be asked to send their original signature to ABA by mail. Given recent delays with the U.S. Postal service, petitioners are also asked to email Nominating Committee Chair Jenny Cohen to let her know that their petition is on the way.
  • All original signatures must be postmarked by February 20, 2021, and mailed to the Chair, ABA Nominating Committee, c/o ABA, 333 Westchester Avenue, Suite S202, White Plains, New York 10604. 
  • The names on the petition in support of the candidate must reflect at least two percent of ABA Bookstore Members as of January 1, 2021; that is a minimum of 37 signatures. The petition must contain original signatures and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of bookstore members in at least five states, with representatives of no one state constituting more than 50 percent of the total number of petition signatures.
  • Upon receipt of a valid petition, the candidate’s name will be added to the ballot sent to ABA membership.

The members of this year’s Nominating Committee were Jenny Cohen of Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River, Oregon (chair); board member Tegan Tigani of Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Washington; Kathy Burnette of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, Indiana; Hannah Oliver Depp of Loyalty Bookstores in Washington, D.C., and Silver Spring, Maryland; and Michael Herrmann of Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire.