It’s been over a year and a half since the Association of Booksellers for Children first began exploring the possibility of merging with the American Booksellers Association as one way of securing its future. Now that possibility is moving a step closer, with the release of a merger plan early next month, and a vote in October.

In preparation for the balloting, the staff of both organizations met last month at ABA’s headquarters in Tarrytown, N.Y., to formalize a plan for handling ABC’s programming if the merger were to go through. Subsequently both boards approved the plan and amended last May’s agreement to change the percentage of the vote required for the merger to pass. To ensure that ABC’s membership is truly behind the merger, the boards have upped the vote margin from two-thirds to 75% approval.

The formalized plan will be released on Tuesday, September 7, and posted on the ABC Web site so that booksellers can comment publicly on the proposal. Then on October 1, ABC members will receive a hard copy of the plan as well as public comments on it; ballots are due on October 22. ABC executive director Kristen McLean anticipates that the results will be available in early November. If the merger passes, then the two organizations will set an official date for the merger.

McLean said that she’s looking forward to the plan’s release. “I think it will be great for ABC members to look at a real, concrete proposal for what ABC could look like under a newly merged association,” she said. “The staff of both organizations worked hard to craft a plan that offered ABC members not only continuation, but substantial growth of ABC programming.”

If the proposal passes, McLean said that she would be willing to consult for at least a year. “I feel really positive about the merger. I’m committed to making it go through smoothly,” she said.