CAPERS Bookstore is managed by Sarah Cornfoot, but her mother, Jan, started the business in 1988 and ownership transferred in recent years to Sarah, although Jan assists with events.
Sarah was actively involved in CAPERS from an early age, and whilst attending Melbourne University, worked in other bookstores. Sarah has a Masters in Gender and Development from Melbourne University (the Masters focused on maternal health in developing countries) and she worked as a freelance researcher.
Jan originally trained as an accountant, but during her first pregnancy (1974-5) she became involved with local, national and international consumer advocacy and support groups. From 1979-1988, Jan was International Director for the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), then based in Minneapolis USA. In 1987, seeing the benefits of networking, sharing resources and speaker tours, Jan started CAPERS (an acronym for Childbirth And Parenting Education Resources & Services).
In 1992, CAPERS started publishing the journal Birth Issues which was for many years the only peer-reviewed journal in Australia and New Zealand with this particular focus (childbirth and breastfeeding). Birth Issues was indexed by CINAHL and the Australasian Medical Index (AMI), and articles are now available through www.informit.com.au We ceased publication in December 2006 but continue to sell some of the issues online.
Since 1976, Jan has organised many conferences and workshops (for ICEA and other consumer groups and since 1988, for CAPERS). Speakers for these CAPERS events in Australia and New Zealand have included: Janet Balaskas, Sheila Kitzinger, Thomas W Hale, Lawrence Gartner, James McKenna, Teri Shilling, Gabrielle Palmer, Rukhsana Haider, Marshall Klaus, Jean Sutton, Pauline Scott, Murray Enkin, Karen Guilliland, Charles Mahan, Steve Biddulph, William Sears, Penny Simkin, Diony Young, Ruth Lubic, Chloe Fisher, Nils Bergman, Jack Newman, Fiona Giles, Sandra Lang, Howard Chilton, Denis Walsh, Peter Hartmann, Donna Geddes, Angela Smith, Ruth Worgan, Mary Lantry, Alison Barrett, Carol Bartle, Jan Roberts, Lisa Amir, Sara Wickham, Shea Caplice, Hannah Dahlen, Sheryl Sidery, Carolyn Hastie, Christina Smillie, Maggie Banks, Kathleen Murphy, Sarah George, Simone Keddy, Sandra Venables, Paula Dillon and Rachel Reed.
In 2010, our events included the conference tour Breastfeeding: A Lifetime Investment with Thomas Hale, Kerstin Hedberg Nyqvist, Magda Sachs and Lisa Amir. In May 2011, 350 midwives attended The Passage to Motherhood Conference in Brisbane, with keynote speakers Michel Odent, Sara Wickham and Christina Smillie.
Our regular seminars and workshops have included: Breastfeeding Update and Ethics in Lactation Practice with Carol Bartle; Grief and Loss: The Crying Time with Shea Caplice and Hannah Dahlen, and the Midwifery Update workshops, Using our Head, Heart and Hands, with Shea Caplice and Sheryl Sidery.
In 2012, we introduced a new Midwifery Workshop Managing Birth Variations and Complications with Rachel Reed, and The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Postnatal Period with Kathleen Murphy, Sandra Venables and Sarah George. These will continue in 2013, together with another new workshop, Perinatal Loss: Sad Doesn't have to be Bad with Paula Dillon.
In recent years we have expanded our CAPERS for Children section, which includes a selection of quality gifts and toys, and selected books particularly books on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, siblings and family, and grief and loss. Our interest in children’s books and quality toys has been enhanced by Jan’s grandchildren (Sarah’s nieces), Emily, Georgia, Zoe and Poppy, whose photographs sometimes appear in CAPERS catalogues. It was the pregnancy and birth of Jan's eldest son, Scott (father to Emily, Georgia and Zoe), that led Jan down this path in 1975.
In 2013, CAPERS moved from Melbourne back to Brisbane.
Sarah Cornfoot, CAPERS Bookstore