2023 has been an extraordinary year marked by fresh challenges, growth, and a deep sense of community. As we conclude this year's holiday season, stores throughout our region have experienced growth in sales, navigated the return to pre-pandemic levels of in-store activity. and maneuvered the new challenges on how best to support their communities and freedom of speech.
This year witnessed a concerted effort by stores to amplify underrepresented voices and combat book bans. Encouragingly, GLIBA has observed a remarkable surge in BIPOC-owned and alternative model bookstores opening—a beacon of hope for the future. Our region is growing and passionate. Heartland Fall Forum in Detroit achieved record-breaking attendance, becoming the highest-attended regional fall show in the country. Kicked off by one of the biggest and coolest events we’ve ever hosted, Jack White in conversation with Hanif Abduraqqib. We saw the second year of our Summer Catalog. And our first ever Holiday Catalog Cover Art Contest. We held Spring Forum at the iconic Two Dollar Radio in Columbus, OH. And we hosted Rep Night in Chicago on a basketball court. Thank you to everyone that came out.
This year was met with the contagious enthusiasm of new booksellers coupled with the heartfelt joy of seasoned stores reuniting. It created an atmosphere of joy, gratitude, and optimism that will stay with me. Here's to the continued success and resilience of our vibrant community of bookstores.
A heartfelt thank you to the GLIBA Board of Directors President; Tim Smith, Vice President; Alyson Jones, Secretary; Nina Barrett, Treasurer; Melissa Weisberg, Chris Conti, Gary Lovely, Maxwell Gregory, Zach Matelski and Shay Carroll.
This was a year of tremendous challenges and successes that the GLIBA board met with grace, dignity, patience and passion. This year would not have been possible without them.
GLIBA wishes you a wonderful and prosperous rest of the holiday season! As the year concludes we hope that you and your loved ones can take some time for yourself and rest. This will be last Making Waves of the year.
It's an honor to serve the bookstores of GLIBA. We have some very exciting new ventures to announce soon, and I eagerly anticipate reconnecting with all of you in 2024!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
- Larry Law, Executive Director of GLIBA
GLIBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS