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L’école de la librairie: the future of bookselling


“People started thinking about what they wanted their future to look like and for some of us this period proved to be a turning point. In some cases it meant switching careers”, says Caroline Meneghetti, director of ‘L’école de la librairie’. “The profession of bookseller is an appealing one but it’s important to know that it is a highly demanding and difficult job. You have to be up to it!”

Caroline knows what she is talking about - she has been working as a bookseller herself for more than 15 years and as bookselling instructor for about 12. She decided to join the association two years ago as director after selling her own bookstore and putting her skills and experience to the association’s benefit.

‘L’école de la librairie’ is a trade association created by the business librarians association back in 1972, offering continuous and vocational training. “We offer training to those who are interested in becoming bookstore managers and also to those who wish to change career direction. The vocational training takes five weeks to complete and there is a mandatory traineeship in a bookshop where you can learn about book sales, stock management and general bookstore practices.”

“We noticed a sharp increase in registrations during the COVID-19 lockdown, mainly due to rising unemployment. The pandemic made it clear for us that we had to develop further our online offer to reach overseas candidates and boost distance learning. I’m positive there is future for this profession and growth potential for those who wish to train as booksellers. There is an entire generation of booksellers retiring soon, so there is ample room for new blood. There are libraries all over France that will need new managers and owners.”

An EU-guaranteed loan, backed by the EIF, through Sogama was crucial in that it “enabled us to rent new premises in September 2020 and renovate them, setting up ‘La Ruche’ (literally the ‘beehive’) and doubling our operating surface. La Ruche is a bookshop school and training center where our trainees can get first-hand experience as booksellers working directly on sales, vitrine setting, shelve layout, client servicing. Plus, we created three additional jobs: one trainee and two managers.”

Company: L'école de la librairie (France)

Type of business: Libraries

EIF financing: EaSI social entrepreneurship

Financial intermediary: Sogama

For further information about EIF intermediaries in France, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fr/index.htm


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