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National Conference of African American Librarians pulls convention out of Indianapolis

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The National Conference of African American Librarians will not hold its annual convention in Indianapolis this year as planned because of the ongoing controversy with Indianapolis Public Library’s CEO search.

The NCAAL XII Planning Committee announced plans Jan. 6 to delay its 12th annual convention, “Culture Keepers XII: Unity in Diversity: Stronger Together in the African Diaspora,” calling Indianapolis “an inhospitable location” due to the “actions of the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees.”

The group initially threatened to pull the conference out of Indianapolis in December when the library board voted to offer the CEO job to a controversial, out-of-state candidate instead of the community’s apparent favorite, Nichelle M. Hayes.

Hayes is president of the Black Caucus of American Library Association, which organizes the NCAAL.

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

The announcement came one day after members of the Indianapolis City-County Council and library board exchanged public letters about the CEO search. Members of the council demanded the board offer Nichelle M. Hayes the position, while some library board members defended their decision.

“When entities believe you are not ‘the person’ they create imaginary barriers designed to stop progress both the professional, and the profession,” the NCAAL Conference Committee said in the statement. “Our members deserve better.”

According to the statement, the NCAAL XII conference will now be held in New Orleans in 2024.

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

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