At Avid Bookshop, we firmly believe that books change readers’ lives for the better, and that belief influences everything we do. Avid is an ethically run business with a strong focus on community engagement. We continually challenge ourselves to find creative ways to make Athens and ourselves better through our #AvidGivesBack and #AvidInSchools initiatives, activism, events, book fairs, author readings, partnerships, book clubs, and more.
Commitment to acting in line with our mission
While a deep respect for humanity in everyone and a commitment to social justice have been at the heart of Avid Bookshop since its inception, in the last 2+ years, our booksellers and management team have dedicated significant time and resources to educate ourselves about both the apparent and invisible ways in which racism, privilege, sexism, homophobia, disability, neurodiversity, and xenophobia impact every person’s experiences and implement new practices to shift away from the status quo. In particular, the management team hired Krystle Cobran to guide them through her intensive Racial Diversity Roadmap (RDR) program. Over the course of 15+ months, we held weekly meetings, unpacking our personal belief systems and breaking down every facet of Avid’s operations. The program isn’t designed to wrap up neatly, let alone have a formal ending at all. The goal–which we have embraced wholeheartedly–is to create a culture shift in ourselves and in the very heart of Avid Bookshop.
Over the last few years, Avid’s journey is an ever-evolving engagement in honest conversation about ways in which our actions weren’t in line with who we each wanted to be and/or the business we strived to be. Weekly meetings keep lines of communication open so that staff members are up-to-date on what coworkers are facing and where they may need help or suggestions, preventing the building up of miscommunication and resentment, creating a culture of openness, understanding, and honesty.
Avid Bookshop prioritizes mental health. Retail is a hard industry–that fact doesn’t get acknowledged enough. We protect our employees and address customer interactions that are stressful and/or uncomfortable. We’re flexible and responsive, aware of each other’s changing capacity for work, helping each other with space, sharing work loads, troubleshooting projects collaboratively, and taking time to check in. We support humans in all their complexities.
Avid Bookshop booksellers serve on local, regional, and national committees and boards, and in those leadership positions we have been able to use our influence and prestige to work to address inequities in the publishing industry.
We believe that it is our responsibility at Avid Bookshop to amplify underrepresented voices. We do this by being deliberate about our book selections, displays, events, and titles we highlight to provide a selection that celebrates diversity and condemns injustice.
Avid Bookshop is a work in progress. We are learning to consistently examine our actions, behaviors, and policies. We are not just willing but eager to make changes so that we can be in alignment with our mission: we firmly believe that books change readers’ lives for the better. When we misstep, we acknowledge it and then do everything we need to do to correct our error(s) and help prevent something similar happening in the future.