INDIANAPOLIS — A new report presented this week by law firm Ice Miller to the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees outlined a workplace where employees, especially African Americans, feel harassed and silenced.
After nearly a year of accusations of racism, sexism and bigotry, the Indianapolis Public Library hired a law firm to investigate. The 94-page Climate Report shares insights into employee’s thoughts and feelings.
For example, 22% of Black employees reported feeling harassed or bullied by colleagues in the last year.
Ice Miller consultants also made recommendations, such as updating and reinforcing a harassment policy.
The Board’s Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Hope Tribble, spoke at the presentation.
“There may be things that are brought out that are uncomfortable. That's not only expected, but necessary for growth,” Tribble said.
Former employee Stephen Lane resigned over the issues highlighted in the report. He says the report makes him feel seen.
“The presentation was very affirming of what we were saying,” he said.
Michael Torres, president of the Library Workers Union, says this could be a sign of good things to come.
“It's good information, and it's a start. It's a start for us to start expressing our concerns and working on those issues,” he said.
The union is still processing the entire report, but Lane says he believes that one key recommendation is missing.
“Judge Salinas needs to step down as the board president for the Indianapolis Public Library,” he said.
Salinas came under fire after muting the mic of a former employee voicing her concerns at a Board meeting in May. That is the incident that started the public controversy over workplace culture at IndyPL.
Judge Salinas has not made any indication that he will step down. On Friday afternoon, WRTV left a voicemail for IndyPL’s communication director requesting an interview. That phone call was not returned.
The library did issue a statement that quotes Tribble as saying, “We started this process because we needed to get a clear picture of what our employees were experiencing … the next phase of this process begins tonight. We will review the findings and recommendations and look at how, in partnership with employees and the community, The Library can effectively implement them.”
“Once you know better, you have to do better at this point. I wish the best for the Indianapolis Public Library,” said Lane, hoping that IndyPL will make good on its word to change.
As for the union, it will continue to fight for change, so employees can do what they love – help the people of Indianapolis.
“When we give resources that they're looking for, that's our joy. And that's what we will always do, no matter what,” said Torres.
There will be a Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday with a public comment portion. It will be held at the Library Services Center.