Black librarians drop Indianapolis as conference site

January 7, 2023 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A national group of Black librarians has canceled a July gathering in Indianapolis after the local library declined to permanently hire a woman who was serving as interim leader.

Indianapolis is an “inhospitable location,” the National Conference of African American Librarians said Friday.

The Indianapolis Public Library Board decided not to appoint Nichelle Hayes, who is Black, to lead the library. Some board members said she wasn’t qualified despite serving eight months as interim chief executive, the Indianapolis Star reported.

“The actions of the Indianapolis Public Library Board are a reflection of what happens within our profession, where hardworking, talented and qualified people are used to clean up messes, fix problems and to just be seen enough that a diversity is ticked without any substantive change,” the group of Black librarians said.

The top job was offered on Dec. 8 to Gabriel Morley, former head of the New Orleans library, but he declined after the backlash.