The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. A century later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!
Membership grants you access to a fun and dedicated group of women and men whose mission is to serve the book community. Whether looking for professional networking, personal growth, volunteer opportunities, or just a fantastic community of smart, well-read colleagues, the WNBA is open to you.
Volunteering with the WNBA-NYC is a great way to give back to your community and make lasting connections with your fellow members. Member volunteer opportunities range from blogging to joining the board! It all depends on how involved you’d like to be. Contact Hannah Bennett, the NYC chapter president, at email@example.com for more information on how you can get involved.
A quote from founding member Madge Jenison:
The Women’s National Book Association was founded when great ideas were about. It was in the years of the First World War, toward the end of it. Big ideas of civilization and what we wanted of it; how we could keep all we have and get some more. It seemed to us that books are power–that if we could create a working body of all those who have to do with the circulation of ideas in books…if we could start up such an organization, we would have a mechanism, through which we could throw our weight en masse behind anything in which we believed; that we could even stop war if our organization became complete and vigorous enough. Books are a step above the newspapers, magazines and radio. They are the cream of the crop. And it seems to us logical that women should undertake such an enterprise as this.
A letter from Victoria S. Johnson, National President 1967:
Did you know the Women’s National Book Association has been a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) member of the United Nations since 1959?
An NGO is defined as “any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group that is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens’ concerns to governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the community level.” As a NGO affiliated with the Department of Public Information (DPI), we must meet the following four criteria in order to remain a member in good standing:
- Share the ideals of the UN Charter.
- Operate solely on a not-for-profit basis.
- Have a demonstrated interest in United Nations issues and proven ability to reach large or specialized audiences, such as educators, media representatives, policy makers and the business community.
- Have the commitment and means to conduct effective information programmes about UN activities by publishing newsletters, bulletins, pamphlets; organizing conferences, seminars and roundtables; and enlisting the cooperation of the media.
In short, it is our responsibility to support the United Nations in its goals and to win support for those goals among the wider community we work with. In effect, WNBA members are to be ambassadors for the UN. Our organization disseminates information about the UN. through all the means at our disposal, especially through our national and chapter publications and monthly programs.
Our members represent every aspect of the book industry–from readers to writers, editors to agents, librarians to lawyers! We encourage everyone with a love of books to join the organization and offer their diverse voices to our mission. The result is that WNBA membership gives women in the book industry the chance to meet and network with peers in other departments, while our programming gives attendees the opportunity to learn from the experts. While our events are not pitch sessions (don’t ask someone to read your work unless they request it!), our aim is to provide chances to learn, mentor others, exchange ideas, discover new opportunities, and give back to the book community.