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Friday, January 22, 2021

IndyPL Names Head of Center for African-American Literature & Culture

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The Indianapolis Public Library has announced the appointment of Nichelle M. Hayes as Specialist to develop and lead the new Center for African-American Literature and Culture at Central Library.

Hayes began her IndyPL tenure in March 2015 as a systemwide training librarian and for the past year has acted as a business librarian at Central Library. She also has served as a member of the Library’s African-American History Committee.

Funded as part of a $3.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Center for African-American Literature and Culture at Central Library will open in October 2017 as a place to study the works of local African-American writers and discover the rich heritage of Black authors from Indiana and beyond. It will feature an initial collection of 10,000 volumes as well as special programming, such as author visits, forums and exhibits, to showcase the African-American experience. The Center also will promote the activities of the African-American History Committee.

“My goal is to combine a robust collection with interactive programming that can be a beacon to people in the community and bring them together,” Hayes stated. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to add to the Library’s existing offerings and to make this Center the best of its kind in the nation.”

As a focal point for encouraging and supporting continued literary and artistic accomplishment, the Center will celebrate fiction, essays, drama, poetry and other writings as living, dynamic and essential forms of expression that create community.

“Nichelle is a great librarian to grow this experience for our city,” said Library CEO Jackie Nytes. “We are grateful for the support of Lilly Endowment to create an environment where the community can easily find the rich body of Black literature and participate in a dynamic calendar of speakers and creativity.”       

The Center for African-American Literature and Culture will be located in the 3,990-square-foot Robert B. Annis West Reading Room at Central Library. Its targeted opening will correspond with the 100th anniversary celebration of Central Library. 

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