The Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA) has hired Heather Duncan for the position of executive director. Duncan takes over from Laura Ayrey Burnett, who announced her resignation in November after seven years in the job.
Duncan comes to the organization from the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, where she has worked for 28 years, most recently as director of marketing and events. She previously served on the board of directors of MPIBA, as well as its advisory board. She was elected board president last spring, and was due to assume the role on January 1. Duncan confirmed that the organization will announce a new board president soon.
As for establishing priorities, Duncan said she intends to expand on the agenda established by Burnett. "I plan to reach out to our membership and visit as many stores in the region as I can, she said. "In particular, I also want to visit stores in our region that are not members. Many of these are in smaller towns or rural places and could derive a different value from the organization than stores in larger cities."
Duncan, who will remain based in Denver, confirmed that the next two MPIBA Fall Discovery Shows will take place in Denver. She said that she plans no significant changes to the format for the foreseeable future, but does have ideas for some new educational sessions and potential vendors.
"Denver, which is a hub for several airlines, is very convenient for many people," she said, adding that the show could be be moved after 2019. "The MPIBA covers a massive part of the country, from Montana to the bottom of Texas, so we have a lot of ground to cover." Texas, she went on, is the most likely potential location for the show, or the organization's spring meeting. "After Colorado, Texas has our highest number of members."