INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees created a new and temporary Chief Administrative Officer (COA) position in a special boarding meeting Tuesday.
The position will be filled by Anita J. Harden, RN, MBA and owner of Interim Executives, LLC.
As CAO, Harden will work under the direction of Acting CEO Gregory Hill and in conjunction with the Indy PL board to support the library’s mission, implement recommendations from the Climate Improvement Study, build the leadership capacity of the Indy PL personnel and fulfill other duties under the direction of Acting CEO Hill.
Tuesday's special board meeting was the first since Hope C. Tribble was named board president. It has been 16 months since a permanent library CEO has served. Former CEO Jackie Nytesresigned in August 2021.
"That role needs to be filled now and part of our plan to move forward for the next search process is to put in place a community leader who can provide additional support and assistance with executive functions," Tribble told reporters after the meeting.
Harden’s term will begin upon execution of the contract and will not exceed 12 months.
Talks about Harden's role have been going on since Dec. 19, according to Tribble. Part of Tribble's goals include reunifying the board.
Harden has led numerous strategic planning and organizational transitions for several nonprofits and cultural agencies in Indianapolis, including Family Service of Central Indiana, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Lutheran Child and Family Services, the Indiana Latino Institute, the Madam Walker Legacy Center and Indianapolis Public Schools.
Prior to founding Interim Executives, LLC, Harden served as President of Community Hospital East. Harden has also held more than 20 positions on committees and boards including Citizens Energy Group, The Indianapolis Zoo, the Black Nurses Association, The Indianapolis Rotary Foundation, the Indiana University School of Nursing, Christian Theological Seminary, LaPlaza and the Indiana Minority Mental Health Coalition.
“I am humbled to be given the opportunity to assist an essential community institution during this critical time,” Harden said in a press release. “To me, the most important aspect of an organization is its internal culture. As Chief Administrative Officer for the Indianapolis Public Library, I plan to do a lot of listening – to our staff, our patrons, our community and our leadership – in order to gain an understanding of all perspectives and to help library leadership build a healthy and sustainable culture.”
The library plans to begin the search for a permanent CEO with Harden’s assistance.
All candidates who previously applied for the CEO position will be eligible for consideration, not including Harden.
The board's next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 23.
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WRTV digital reporter Michelle Kaufman contributed to this report.