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Bookmarks to Explore Space for Independent Bookstore and Programs

The Bookmarks Board of Directors has created an Exploratory Committee to expand the literary arts nonprofit’s footprint with the goal of creating a gathering place that combines an independent bookstore, a space for Bookmarks-sponsored events and programs with other organizations, and Bookmarks’ offices.

A brick and mortar independent bookstore has been part of Bookmarks’ strategic plan since 2011. “This dedicated retail space will help us draw more award-winning and bestselling authors to Winston-Salem and the Triad area,” said Ginger Hendricks, Executive Director of Bookmarks. “We see literary arts programming continuing to grow its role in our community—connecting, challenging, informing, and entertaining us.”

“An independent bookstore will provide a cultural gathering place and fill a major gap in Winston-Salem’s literary scene,” said Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling novelist and president of Bookmarks’ Board of Directors.

Bookmarks, founded in 2004, began selling books in 2013. In just three years, book sales have tripled under the supervision of Jamie Rogers Southern, Operations Director. Southern brings a wealth of experience, having spent five years as manager of The Alabama Booksmith, an independent bookstore in Homewood, Alabama just outside Birmingham, where she planned 300 author events annually. Southern also served as Education Coordinator for the American Booksellers Association, the national trade association for independent bookstores, advising bookstore owners and employees on how to successfully operate independent bookstores.

Bookmarks has the trust and support of authors and publishers throughout the United States. It has become a key resource for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals looking to connect with authors and it partners with approximately 50 organizations each year. Bookmarks holds onsite workplace book fairs and sells books from Coffee Park ARTS and its office inside the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.

Bookmarks’ goal is to provide a larger home for book-related activities and programs, including: the largest annual free book festival in North and South Carolina drawing attendees from 15 states (scheduled for September 8-10, 2016); author talks in the Triad; and Authors in Schools programming, which includes a summer reading component open to K-12 students throughout
North Carolina. Bookmarks currently reaches over 22,000 people annually. More than 5,500 students participate in its Authors in Schools Program throughout the Piedmont Triad.

Bookmarks is unique across the country in that it plans and executes its annual book festival and author events while also selling books to support its nonprofit mission. Book sales have now become an increasingly important component of Bookmarks’ funding support. The Winston-Salem Foundation, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County along with corporate sponsorships, foundation grants, and individual donations also add to the annual budget.

The Bookmarks Board of Directors has offered its full commitment and has pledged substantial funds in support of this expansion. Corporate sponsorships, naming opportunities, and individual donations are currently being accepted to support the new space.

Over the past 12 years, Bookmarks has hosted such luminaries as: Kwame Alexander, Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, David Baldacci, Geraldine Brooks, Michael Chabon, Billy Collins, Michael Connelly, Pat Conroy, Matt de la Peña, Diana Gabaldon, Elizabeth Gilbert, Garrison Keillor, James Patterson, Rick Riordan, Cokie Roberts, Lemony Snicket, and RL Stine.

Board members of the Exploratory Committee are: Charlie Lovett, Author and President of the Bookmarks Board of Directors; Martha Clayton Logemann, CPA and Treasurer of the Bookmarks Board of Directors; Judy Breakstone, Summit School Second Grade Assistant Teacher; Kevin Kampman, Publisher of The Winston-Salem Journal; Hernando Ramirez-Santos, Executive Editor/News Director of Qué Pasa Media Network; and Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Director of Special Collections & University Archivist at Wake Forest University. Ginger Hendricks, Executive Director, and Jamie Rogers Southern, Operations Director, are the Bookmarks staff representatives on the Committee.

Bookmarks is located at 251 North Spruce Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Visit bookmarksnc.org to learn more about Bookmarks and its programs. For further information, please contact Ginger Hendricks, Executive Director, at gh@bookmarksnc.org, or call 336-747-1471.

Bookmarks is a literary arts nonprofit organization that engages, inspires, and connects readers with authors and books. This is achieved through the largest annual book festival in North and South Carolina; Triad-based author talks; and an Authors in Schools program, which reaches 5,500 students annually. Visit bookmarksnc.org for more information.

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