Voice of the Heartland Award Going to Janet Jones of Detroit's Source Booksellers

Janet Jones, Source Booksellers

The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association boards are giving the 2023 Voice of the Heartland Award to Janet Jones, owner of Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich. The award recognizes individuals and organizations who "uphold the value of independent bookselling and have made a significant contribution to bookselling in the Midwest."

The associations called Jones "a trailblazer in both education and bookselling" with a "lifelong commitment to fostering a love of learning and promoting literacy."

They continued: "Janet's journey is closely intertwined with Detroit's history, mirroring the city's triumphs and struggles. She witnessed the rise of the automobile industry and the subsequent Great Migration, which transformed Detroit. Her story echoes the city's vibrant cultural history, from the Motown era to the challenges posed by suburbanization.

"Janet opened her first brick and mortar store, Source Booksellers, inside the Spiral Collective--a shared space with three other women-owned, African American businesses on Cass Avenue and Willis Street in Detroit's Midtown area in 2002.

"In 2013, as Detroit faced bankruptcy, Janet seized an opportunity to open Source Booksellers in the Midtown district, contributing to the neighborhood's revitalization. Her bookstore has always focused on history, culture, health, metaphysics, spirituality, and literature by and about women. Janet's commitment extended beyond selling books; she actively promoted titles on vital topics, such as water resources and racial history, making Source an essential hub for social discourse.

"Janet's life's work epitomizes dedication to service, education, and community building. Her story is a testament to the legacy of women who have played pivotal roles in creating and sustaining Black-owned bookstores throughout American history. Through Source Booksellers, Janet continues to envelop her community in knowledge, care, and love, leaving an indelible mark on the literary landscape."

Jones will be presented with the award during Heartland Fall Forum in Detroit at the Heartland Booksellers Award Ceremony, on Wednesday, October 18.

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