The National Conference of African American Librarians has decided not to hold its annual meeting in Indianapolis this year after one of its leaders was passed over for the post of CEO of the Indianapolis Public Library.
A press release issued by the conference on Friday said it had decided not to hold its meeting in Indianapolis because it was an “inhospitable” location. The meeting was scheduled for July 11-16 at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites.
Nichelle Hayes, listed on the organization’s website as the conference vice president, was interim CEO of the Indianapolis Library and a finalist for tenure. The library board last month offered the other finalist the permanent position of CEO, prompting protests from community members who favored Hayes.
Gabriel Morley, a white man and former director of the New Orleans Library, turned down the job, and the library committee chose to resume their search rather than offer Hayes the job.
Despite calls by a majority of the Indianapolis City-County Council Thursday for the library to hire Hayes, several members of the library board issued a statement defending their decision and saying it was wrong to assume Hayes qualified because she was interim CEO, or that she was Finalist status meant that a majority of the library board believed she was qualified for the CEO position.
In its statement, the National Conference of African American Librarians never mentions Hayes by name, instead citing the decisions of the Library Committee.
“The actions of the Indianapolis Public Library Board reflect what is happening in our profession, where hardworking, talented, and skilled people are employed to clean up clutter, fix problems, and be seen just enough to tick a diversity goal without significant change ‘ the organization’s conference committee said in a written statement. “When entities believe that you are not ‘the person’ they create imaginary barriers designed to stop progress [for] both the professional and the profession. Our members deserve better.”
Hayes became interim CEO after former CEO Jackie Nytes resigned after allegations of contributing to racism and a toxic work environment. Nytes denied these allegations.
As for this year’s National Conference of African American Librarians, the organization’s press release does not specify whether the event will be held in a different city or if it has been cancelled. It was said that the 2024 convention would be held in New Orleans.