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African American Library Convention pulls out of Indy amid CEO controversy

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Posted at 12:54 PM, Jan 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-07 14:12:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS—The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCAL) and the National Convention of African American Librarian committee (NCAAL) has announced that the 12th National Convention of African American Librarians will no longer be held in Indianapolis due to the actions of the Indianapolis Library Board.

The NCAAL and BCAL released a statement on the decision being due to the CEO controversy and states that they have determined Indianapolis to be a “inhospitable location.”

“The actions of the Indianapolis Public Library Board are a reflection of what happens within our profession, where hardworking, talented and qualified people are used to clean up messes, fix problems, and to just be seen enough that a diversity goal is ticked without any substantive change. 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. “Our members deserve better.”

The Culture Keepers XII: Unity in Diversity: Stronger Together in the African Diaspora was scheduled to be held in July 2023 in Indianapolis. There is no statement on if the event will be relocated in 2023, but a conference will be held in New Orleans in 2024.

“In order to have a successful conference we need a good working relationship with the hosting library system, which includes their board of directors. Unfortunately, the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees recent actions do not reflect their desire to have an open, transparent, or even working relationship with their community and we believe we would be met with the same opposition. As a resident of Indianapolis, I'm saddened that this decision had to be made.” Mahasin Ameen, NCAAL XII Co-chair said.

Ameen said that after a poll with the members of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association it was clear that Indianapolis could no longer be the host of NCAAL XII.


The National Conference of African Americans Librarians (NCAAL) is a time for us to engage, communicate, reflect and enjoy fellowship in a welcoming city. Culture Keepers XII: Unity in Diversity: Stronger Together in the African Diaspora was scheduled to be held in July 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Due to the actions of the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees, BCALA members have determined that Indianapolis is an inhospitable location, and the conference will not be held there.

The actions of the Indianapolis Public Library Board are a reflection of what happens within our profession, where hardworking, talented and qualified people are used to clean up messes, fix problems, and to just be seen enough that a diversity goal is ticked without any substantive change. When entities believe you are not “the person” they create imaginary barriers designed to stop progress both the professional, and the profession. Our members deserve better.

The National Conference of African American librarians will be held in New Orleans in 2024.

Culture Keepers XII: Unity in Diversity: Stronger Together in the African Diaspora.
NCAAL Conference Committee

This decision follows the library board's persistent denial of Nichelle Hayes as the library CEO that has caused continued controversy amongst the community.

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Emotional crowd attends Indianapolis library board meeting since CEO controversy (wrtv.com)

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