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Black librarians’ caucus moves conference: Indy “inhospitable”

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Photo: Bryce Gustafson

On January 6, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association announced that the 12th National Conference of Black American Librarians would not be held in Indianapolis in July 2023 as planned.

The NCAAL Planning Committee issued a press release slamming the Indianapolis Public Library Board. The conference will instead be held in New Orleans in 2024.

The committee castigated IndyPL’s Board for making Indianapolis an “inhospitable location” for Black librarians who are used to “tick” a box for a facade of diversity “without any substantive change.”

The announcement concluded with a condemnation of the board’s refusal to appoint Nichelle Hayes as CEO.

12th National Convention of African American Librarians Changing Locations

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
NCAALXII@BCALA.org

Our city also deserves better. The struggle for the people’s democratic control of our public library continues at the City-County Council on Monday, January 9 at 6:30 PM as we pressure the Council to recall its board appointees who are blocking progress.