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IndyStar report on library struggle provides new evidence for movement demands

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A July 22 report by Natalia E. Contreras for the IndyStar not only confirms the legitimacy of the grievances of library workers and the community, but adds new damning evidence to support the movement’s demands.

For almost two months, former and current library workers, their union, and community members have built a still-growing movement to oust the racist leadership of CEO Jackie Nytes and Board President Jose Salinas, as well as to call for more community and worker control over the library.

It begins with a clear affirmation that racism defines the working environment of the Public Library system.

IndyStar also spoke to more than half a dozen current and former library workers who said the discrimination and devaluation of Black workers has been an issue at the library for decades. Others also came forward to express their concerns to the library board during public meetings in June.

Investigation uncovers damning emails

PSL member Doris Jones and daughter at the July 9 protest. Photo: Lukas Flippo.

Bree Flannelly from raising the racism she suffered at all during the May 24 Board meeting. The emails show that the CEO “messaged Flannelly on May 24, hours before the meeting, to tell her not to discuss personnel matters during the public comment portion of the meeting.”

Additionally, Nytes “emailed board members days before the meeting to alert them about Flannelly’s plan to speak publicly.”

When Flannelly spoke, Salinas had advanced knowledge of her message’s content and put her on mute, until other Board members objected. This was the moment that started the movement.

After an initial flurry of reports on the matter, the spotlight went away. Nytes and Salinas hoped it would remain focused elsewhere, but workers and the community had other plans.

Center intern Tamarria Day, union leader Michael Torres, and worker Stephen late present at the Liberation Forum. Photo: Kelly Wilkinson

Stephen Lane, a special collections librarian for eight years, put the two organizations he works with and trusts–his union AFSCME Local 3395 and the Indianapolis Liberation Center for which he volunteers–in touch. After initial meetings and a month had passed since the first media reports, the two groups decided to host a Liberation Forum to update the community on the struggle. In the meantime, we started an online petition to support AFSCME’s demands. At the time of writing, it has over 250 signatures.

Eli Morey, a member of the Indianapolis branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, first reported on the Liberation Forum here.

The next Friday, AFSCME Local 3395, ANSWER Indiana, and the Center helped organize a protest at the Library’s administrative building on N. Meridian Street.

Spread the story to energize and widen support!

The IndyStar report is sure to disappoint the bosses and further energize the workers and community, drawing in wider and stronger support for the struggle.

Protesters start marching on Meridian st. Photo: Lukas Flippo.

Stay tuned to the Indianapolis Liberation Center website for the next action items, and in the meantime sign and share the petition and send a letter to Board members!

Both the petition and letters make your support for the struggle’s demands explicit:

  1. The resignations of IndyPL Board president Judge Jose Salinas and IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes
  2. Increased community oversight and control over the public library and
  3. Conduct a climate study on staff morale and TAKE ACTION on them THIS YEAR!

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