Ginger Hendricks, executive director, resigned from Bookmarks on Monday after more than 10 years with the organization.
Her last day will be Sept. 30, after the completion of a silent auction and fundraiser, Sept. 10-26, to raise money for the annual festival of books and authors and independent book store.
Hendricks plans to be home with her family to help her two young children navigate school online because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"I love Bookmarks so much," she said. "But I've got a rising kindergartner, Monroe, and a third-grader, Dalton, and I want to be able to help them learn.
"Since they can't go to school because of COVID-19, I feel like I need to be here with them. Monroe is so young, and he's so excited about learning to read."
Hendricks is married to Heath Combs, who works in marketing at Truliant.
“The board, our volunteers, and staff thank Ginger for her tireless dedication to Bookmarks over the past 10 years," said Barbara Raffaldini, president of the board. “The foundation she has built will benefit our organization for years to come.”
The board has appointed Jamie Rogers Southern as interim executive director beginning Oct. 1. Southern has been operations director and in charge of programming since 2012.
Hendricks recalled some high and low points with the literary non-profit. Bookmarks opened an independent bookstore in July 2017, which expanded their ability to hold events year-round.
"The day that we opened the bookstore, that was a great day," she said. "Debbie Harllee, our founder, was there; Charlie Lovett, who was the board president; Jamie; and Beth Seufer Buss, the book store manager.
"About 250 people came out for the opening, and they were so excited for us."
Another high point for her was meeting and talking with Gillian Flynn, the author of "Gone Girl" in 2011.
"The worst moments are when you find out that an author can't come," Hendricks said.
During Hendricks' tenure, Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors became the largest annual book festival in North and South Carolina. She oversaw the relocation and expansion of Bookmarks’ offices and the opening of a nonprofit independent bookstore and gathering space. Hendricks spearheaded the three-year project Book Build, which is providing 25,000 new and relevant books to the local public school libraries.
“I will always support the mission of Bookmarks and believe wholeheartedly in all that it brings to the Winston-Salem community," Hendricks said. "I have no doubt it will continue to thrive.
"This amazing nonprofit has exceeded all of my hopes and expectations. It has been my honor to lead a very talented and hard-working group of employees and volunteers. I have made connections that will last the rest of my life."
“We are confident that we will continue to fulfill our important mission of 'Books with Purpose' during this period of transition,” Raffaldini said.
Bookmarks is a literary arts nonprofit organization that encourages the love of reading by connecting the community with books and authors. In addition to the annual Festival of Books and Authors in the fall, Bookmarks offers year-round programming, including author talks, lecture nights, book club gatherings, and more, all of which are currently being offered virtually.
Community outreach efforts also include Bookmarks In Schools, which connects students in the Winston-Salem area with authors and new books. Bookmarks is at 634 W. Fourth St., No. 110, Winston-Salem. It is open by appointment with social distancing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
PHOTOS: Bookmarks through the years