The Indianapolis Public Library has changed leadership after complaints of racism, ableism and a toxic work environment from current and former employees went public. The outcries led to the Aug. 31 resignation of former CEO Jackie Nytes. Chief Public Services Officer John Helling has been appointed interim CEO. He said one skill is critically important in the transition and moving forward.
“The word that probably captures everything is listening and part of listening means that if a decision or policy can't hold up to difficult questions posed by staff or patrons, that it probably wasn't good enough in the first place, and we need to do better,” Helling said. “I recognize; I think we all recognize that when we listen, we learn what we need to improve.”
He said it’s the library’s responsibility to be inclusive and make everyone feel welcomed.
“I would feel comfortable saying that -- whatever it looks like -- community engagement is going to be a huge part of it,” Helling said. “Because the way that our patrons experience and perceive the libraries is extremely important to, you know what, to all of us.”
Helling said his current goals are building and rebuilding trust and to facilitate the transition for the next library CEO.
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