Library leadership seeks revenge on workers who advocate on behalf of the community

Editorial introduction

Amira Malcom, an engaged community member and library worker, delivered this statement at the August IndyPL Board of Trustees meeting. As a result of her dedication to improving our city and its library, this article’s author was fired from her position by the library’s illegitimate CEO Greg Hill. Her appeal to the Board of Trustees to overturn Hill’s decision was recently voted down by Hope Tribble and her faction. We agree the dismissal cannot be separated from Malcom’s history as an outspoken community advocate, particularly when, at the board’s April 2023 meeting, she bravely endorsed the petition calling for a vote of no confidence in “the corrupt four” during her testimony.

Amira Malcom, we salute you!

Amira Malcom’s testimony

Good evening. My name is Amira Malcom, and as of right now I am the multimedia project manager of the Center for Black Literature and Culture at Central Library. I have been in this position since January of 2020, excepting the few months where I took on Nichelle Hayes’s position as Manager of the CBLC while she served as our CEO.

I was initially hired for a fellowship to implement Phase II of the CBLC, and have since then grown to be the primary expert and point person on the CBLC. I plan, schedule, and execute events, wrangle volunteers, write CAPs (Community Action Plans), conduct meetings, and advise staff on our area every day. I am also a full time student studying to get my masters in library and information science – the fall semester started just last week so hello to professor Andrea Copeland, wherever you are tonight.

It’s often said that there’s no point in putting in two weeks notice at any job, because employers don’t give you notice when they plan to fire you. I had found this sentiment relatable, up until almost two weeks ago today when I returned to work from a conference to find that HR had plans to petition the board to terminate my position at this meeting, with my last day being just a few days later on the first of September. Frustrating as that was, even more so was the response from HR when I inquired more into this abrupt change, learning that “managers have informed us that the Phase II of the CBLC has been completed.” After inquiring further I was informed that Nichelle had not been asked about the completeness of this project because she was on leave.

It’s confusing to me that the manager of the space being discussed wasn’t included in the conversation about its completeness, when her specific goals and intentions went into creating the final product. I was also asked to apply for another job in the library as a page or library assistant. None of the roles available match my robust experience and current pay. And that’s on top of the fact that a role in the CBLC is opening seemingly intentionally after my departure.

No communication about the status of my fellowship had been received from any staff in the two years and eight months I have held this position. The only comment on my status came from our current CEO on June 15 when I asked him about becoming interim manager again with consideration to Nichelle’s absence. It was shared with me then that “they should have changed [your] job title to public services associate…because [you’re] not being paid by the grant anymore. You’re being paid out of the operating fund now”. While I’m very interested in how this information is true considering the content of the letter delivered to me earlier in the month, it was not made clear if I am being moved to a new position, or am being cut free from the organization entirely.

I’m here to ask that the board delay its decision to end this position until the end of the year, or at least until the next meeting on September 25th, to allow for a more timely transition and the maintenance of CBLC operations as Nichelle returns to the office and I continue to find my place in the Library.

Thank you.

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