Nichelle M. Hayes, founder of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Center for Black Literature and Culture (CLBC) was named a 2021 “Mover and Shaker” by the Library Journal, a national publication.
Hayes, who has led the CBLC since its opening in 2017, was nominated for her work as a project manager, curator, marketer, librarian, program specialist and African diaspora expert. The CBLC hosts books clubs, writing groups, art exhibits and other cultural events.
“The way that I define success is that the community has supported me wholeheartedly with these programs,” Hayes said in a press release. “People will come up to me and thank me for bringing this person or that person to the CBLC. I think success is community support and people encouraging you. I hope that I can continue to help the community, and the encouragement shows I’m on the right track.”
Hayes hopes the CBLC can be a place where people can gather to study, read and relax, and hopes that her work will inspire more Black people to enter the library field.
“I really want Black people who are looking to go into librarianship to see that there is a path for them,” Hayes said. “I’m hoping I can open more doors.”
Indianapolis Public Library CEO Jackie Nytes said it has been a privilege to help develop and support the CBLC.
“Nichelle has passionately guided such wonderful programs for our patrons and introduced the Center to so many in the community,” Nytes said. “We are excited to be working together with the Library Foundation to continue the next phase of the CBLC with interactive educational resources later this year.”
Hayes was nominated by Twanna Hodge, a diversity, equity and inclusion librarian at the University of Florida Libraries. Hodge said the CBLC’s success is based on “the way in which Hayes has combined forces with different organizations and community groups that have similar goals. These coalitions have enabled wonderful programs to take place and have exposure to large sections of the community.”