Since 2016, Nichelle M. Hayes has excelled as the leader of the Center for Black Literature and Culture at the Indianapolis Public Library. Additionally, she has flourished as the chief executive officer to her successful business, Hayes Consulting, since 1989. Moreover, she has blogged for “The Ties That Blind” since 2014 and has been an invited guest speaker at the Indiana School of Education since 2018. For those unfamiliar, The Indianapolis Public Library’s Center for Black Literature & Culture is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots. The aforementioned center serves as a space for those interested in exploring the rich heritage that has influenced nations across the globe. Ms. Hayes has proudly been a part of the beginning efforts to bring the now distinguished and nationally known center to fruition.
Prior to embarking upon her professional path, Ms. Hayes pursued an education at Valdosta State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in human relations in 1995. She continued her studies with a Master of Library Science in English from Indiana University in 2011. Following these accomplishments, Ms. Hayes concluded her academic efforts at Valdosta State University in 1998, graduating with obtained a Master of Public Administration in public personnel management.
Always harboring a thirst for knowledge and a love of literature, Ms. Hayes was positive that she found her niche upon discovering the career of the “information professional,” which is another term for a librarian. With the help of a colleague toward the beginning of her career, she took advantage of myriad opportunities with a focus on the end goal of serving her community as a keeper of knowledge. She initially served as a human resources director for IRL before working as a consultant for the National Council on Educating Black Children from 2006 to 2007. Subsequently, Ms. Hayes found much success as a library media specialist in a K-5 school from 2008 to 2013.
For her dedication and excellence in her professional career, Ms. Hayes has been the recipient of awards from the Center for Leadership Development based on her inimitable service to the public and community. She credits much of her success to Kisha Tandy, a curator at the Indian State Museum who brought to her attention a fellowship that essentially guided her toward her current career. Ms. Hayes also praises Marcia Smith Woodard for giving her the chance to achieve greatness, as she was the supervisor for the fellowship program.
A board member for YWCA Indianapolis and the Indianapolis NAACP, Ms. Hayes has also contributed as an executive board member of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. The past president of the Indiana African American Genealogy Group, she has maintained her involvement as the president of the Indiana Black Librarians Association. Looking toward the future, Ms. Hayes would like to continue on her mission to enhance the understanding of others’ views surrounding the African diaspora in the U.S. and positively impact the community through education.