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Indianapolis Public Library board holds first meeting of 2023

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Indianapolis Public Library’s Board of Trustees held its first regular meeting of the year with public comment Jan. 23.

Amid ongoing controversy surrounding the search for a new CEO, people crowded into the Library Services Center for the meeting. Many came to welcome newly appointed board member Stephen Lane and protest in support of Nichelle M. Hayes. Board President Hope Tribble laid out the board’s priorities for 2023.

“Over the coming year, as we work to improve overall board governance and the board’s impact on the library’s climate and culture, my hope is that we will work collaboratively to improve our communication and operations as a whole,” Tribble said.

The first of the board’s priorities is becoming unified under an “agreed upon protocol to create and support a healthy, functional culture” that Tribble said will keep the board focused even when they disagree.

The second is climate and culture, which Tribble said includes supporting the implementation of recommendations from a climate report in 2022 with a “relentless commitment to accountability and measurement of our progress toward improving the climate and culture of the organization.” The report found staff has low confidence in the board.

Lastly, Tribble said the board will focus on library leadership involved in “identifying, installing and supporting a creative, engaged, proactive library leadership” to lead the library in its goals.

People used more than an hour during the public comment period to continue voicing their displeasure with the library’s CEO search. Many said they’re specifically upset with Tribble and board members Curtis Bigsbee and Raymond Biederman, who voted last year to offer the CEO job to an unpopular white man from New Orleans instead of Hayes.

Other business

The board’s Finance Committee reported the library’s annual revenue for 2022 was about $48 million, and the library ended the year 3% over budget. Expenditures for 2022 were reported at close to $54 million, and the library ended the year 16% under budget at $45 million.

The board voted 6-0 to waive fines, fees and miscellaneous charges totaling $100,228.

During the Library Foundation update, Tribble announced the library would begin searching for a new director of development in early February.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 or chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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