UPDATE:

Dr. TD Robinson has resigned from the Library Board of Trustees, a Library spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

“Appointing a replacement is the purview of the board member’s appointing authority,” said the spokesperson in an email.

ORIGINAL STORY:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Tensions continue to run high in the search for a new Indianapolis Public Library CEO. Protestors spoke out during Monday night’s city county council meeting, demanding the board president resign.

Chants erupted during Monday night’s city county council meeting demanding board of trustees president, Hope Tribble, be removed. 

Protestors from the Indianapolis Liberation Center (ILC) were escorted out of the meeting after protesting the library’s decision not to appoint interim CEO Nichelle Hayes to the permanent position.

“At first, the main reason was they found out there was a confidentiality breach in the search process,” said Derek Ford, an organizer with ILC. “Then they said it was because they found it more severe than they thought.”

Ford was in attendance at Monday night’s meeting. He says the board has changed their story multiple times as to why Hayes wasn’t hired, despite overwhelming support from library staff.

“The board announced they’d launch a new search which would be a huge waste of time and taxpayer dollars,” Ford said.

Employees have been raising concerns about the culture in the library system for some time. 

The complaints gained public attention after the former board president muted an employee who was raising those concerns at a board meeting in 2021.

The ongoing conflict has caught nationwide attention. The National Conference of African American Librarians canceled their conference scheduled in Indianapolis this summer due to the stalemate between trustees and the public. We reached out to event organizers but did not hear back.

We’ve learned Hayes is the president of the Black Caucus American Library Association, which organizes the conference that was cancelled.

“It was also a solid act of solidarity,” Ford said. “Why would we have a conference for the Black caucus in a city that, whose library board refuses to hire a black woman.”

In a statement from The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, it reads quote “Nichelle has proven herself through many years of service at many levels of the library. Today, we are asking why one of our own was not deemed good enough. Maybe the library board should ask themselves the same question.”

Hope Tribble, president of the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees, issued this statement to CBS4:

“Everyone who cares about Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Public Library is sincerely disappointed that the National Conference of African American Librarians will not be held in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Public Library is proud to support the work of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. As Ms. Hayes is president of the group, it is understandable the caucus would want to show its support for her. We wish them great success with their convention.

As a board of trustees comprised nearly entirely of people of color, the impact of this CEO search process is deeply felt, regardless of where on the issue we stand as individuals. We’ll continue to act in accordance with the laws and policies governing human resource decisions and with our duties as trustees.”

The Indianapolis Liberation Center is hosting a press conference on Wednesday, January 18th, to share their concerns. The next board meeting is scheduled for January 23rd.