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Nichelle Hayes stands smiling in front of a bookshelf at the library.

Alumna to lead new center at Indianapolis Central Library

January 12, 2017

Nichelle M. Hayes, MLS, 2011, was recently appointed to lead the new Center for African-American Literature, Culture, and Black Experience at the Indianapolis Public Library’s (IndyPL) Central Library in Indianapolis.

Hayes received her library degree from the IU School of Library and Information Science at IUPUI—now the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) within the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI.

The Center for African-American Literature, located in the R.B. Annis Reading Room, is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and will open in October 2017. As program specialist, Hayes will be combining an initial collection of 10,000 volumes with interactive programming—creating a place to study and explore the contributions of Black authors.

She hopes to bring together members of the community to recognize and encourage these accomplishments. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to make this center the best of its kind in the nation,” said Hayes.

Hayes credits Jean Preer, one of her favorite professors, with inspiring her LIS studies. “Dr. Preer was able to give incredible insight into librarianship and the unsung heroes and ‘sheroes’ who have shaped the profession,” Hayes says.

After graduating from IUPUI, Hayes was a library media-specialist in a K-5 school on the eastside, where she updated and electronically cataloged their book collection. In 2015, she began at IndyPL as a training librarian, and then became business librarian at Central Library, helping patrons with marketing strategies and business plans.

Hayes is a member of the Library’s African-American History Committee, treasurer of the Indiana Black Librarians Network, and member of the NAACP. Previously she was president of the Indiana African American Geneology Group. Hayes is also an alumna of the Indiana Librarians Leading Diversity Fellowship Program.