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An Interview with Jamie Rogers Southern of Bookmarks, located in Winston-Salem, NC

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, July 23, 2018

 

An Interview with Jamie Rogers Southern of Bookmarks, located in Winston-Salem, NC

Name: Jamie Rogers Southern


Store and location: Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC


Number of years as a bookseller: 16


Best part about being a bookseller: Introducing someone to a book or author they didn't know about and then having that customer come back and say "that was amazing!" I will say, I equally love it if someone has an opposite reaction to a book than I did as it often sparks an interesting conversation.


What book(s) are you reading? The Witch Elm by Tana French (Viking, 10/18), Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Mariner, 10/18), The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (Touchstone, 5/18), Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth (Flatiron, 7/18)


Favorite handsell of 2018: Educated by Tara Westover


Best thing you did this year at your store: Other than successfully opening (!), I am really proud of diversifying our programming and reaching a wider audience than we ever have before. Getting new people in and reaching out into new pockets of our community is really a huge part of our mission and I'm extremely proud of how far we've come this year.


Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc): 5,362 likes on FB, 1,095 Twitter, 1,825 Instagram, 5,000 e-newsletter subscribers.


What are some ways you work with your community? Oh goodness, where to start. Since we're a nonprofit, we are involved in our community at every level. We work heavily with our schools, we collaborate with approximately 75 nonprofit organizations and companies each year on events, and we try to create opportunities for people to engage with each other. We host a monthly Social Justice Storytime that has highlighted several groups, including recent refugees to our community through World Relief, Autism awareness, domestic violence, and more. We're working with several groups to cultivate community book clubs, like Pride Winston-Salem on an LGBTQ book club, and a local nutrition therapist on a body liberation book club.


Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? Several! Some of them include: RiverRun International Film Festival on their films that are based on books or books about film, a/perture-our local indie theatre on basically the same, Family Services, Junior League, Head Start, Chamber of Commerce, Forsyth County Public Libraries, Winston-Salem Writers, Salemtowne Retirement Community, Piedmont Opera, Winston-Salem Symphony, Kaleideum Children's Museum, Imprints Cares, Hispanic League, Hospice & Palliative Care Center, Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, and Old Salem Museums & Gardens.


Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? Well, since my number one passion in life is reading, I'd say yes! I also enjoy wine, so it's also great that we share a space with a local brewery/coffee shop.


Top priority for 2018: This year, we are beginning a new initiative called Book Build: Fostering Connections by Building Collections. It has come out of our work with area schools and the realization that so many books in their collections are incredibly out of date and therefore irrelevant. Most children living in poverty will only come into contact with books through their school libraries. That means the books in our school libraries not only need to be current, children also need to be able to see themselves in the books they read. We have this amazing opportunity to change a child's life. Our goal is to raise enough money to provide our schools with 25,000 new books by 2020. It's very exciting and we can't wait to get these books to the schools.


Favorite SIBA programming benefit: I always get so many new ideas from talking to fellow booksellers and hearing what works/doesn't work in their stores. I always come away from any kind of networking event with one or two ideas to put into action in our store and community.


Tags:  Bookmarks  bookseller interview 

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