Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association executive director Deb Leonard is stepping down from her position as of December 31. GLIBA board president Kate Schlademan of The Learned Owl in Hudson, Ohio did not offer a reason for Leonard’s departure, saying only that she “is moving on to other things.”

Leonard told PW that she will spend time on personal projects and will continue to work part-time at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich.; where she has worked there since the store opened in 2013.

GLIBA’s Board of Directors has already launched a national search for a new executive director, Schlademan said, expressing the hope that telephone interviews will be held immediately after the holidays, followed by in-person interviews with finalists in Memphis during Winter Institute 13. The board hopes to hire a new executive director by the end of January.

“We are hoping to find a new executive director who, among other tasks, will continue to develop our social media presence, and will travel around the region, meeting and working with our members,” Schlademan said, emphasizing that the next executive director does not necessarily have to live in Michigan at the time of hiring, as Leonard does. The successful candidate must live in one of the five states served by GLIBA: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan — or else intend to move to one of these states upon being hired.

GLIBA was founded by Jim Dana in 1989 as the Michigan Booksellers Association in response to censorship legislation in that state. Expanding beyond Michigan in 1991, it changed its name to the Great Lakes Booksellers Association, and added “independent” to its name in 2008. There are currently 116 GLIBA bookstore members.

Leonard, who has an extensive background in bookselling and publishing, has served as GLIBA’s executive director since October 2010, replacing Dana, who left GLIBA to work for the Peace Corps in Africa. In 2011 GLIBA, under Leonard’s leadership, held its first joint spring meeting with the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. In the fall of 2012 the two regional bookseller organizations held their first joint trade show, the Heartland Fall Forum. The two organizations have since then taken turns hosting the annual show, which draws GLIBA and MIBA booksellers to Minneapolis on even years, and to Chicago on odd years. Next year’s Heartland Fall Forum will take place in Minneapolis on October 3-5, 2018.