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Indy Library Honored for Contributions to Diversity

January 16, 2013

Diversity Award 2013

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (left) presented the Leadership in Diversity Award to The Indianapolis Public Library during the 12th annual Mayor's Celebration of Diversity Awards. Joining Mayor Ballard are (left to right) Jackie Nytes, Library CEO; Vanessa López, Library Board member; and Olgen Williams, Deputy Mayor for Neighborhoods.

The Indianapolis Public Library has received Mayor Greg Ballard's Leadership in Diversity Award for excelling in strategies that support diversity throughout the Library. The award was presented on January 8, 2013 during the 12th annual Mayor's Celebration of Diversity Awards recognizing local businesses, organizations and institutions that encourage, embrace and celebrate differences that foster a culture of diversity and inclusiveness.

The Library has a long, rich history of recognizing and responding to cultural change. Its mission and vision are to create an agile infrastructure while achieving and sustaining excellence in serving diverse urban communities. By reviewing a formal strategy every five years for development of its future, the Library has taken a proactive approach to the community's ever-changing population.

In addition to a collection of over 2.1 million items in various formats, yearly visits by over 5 million patrons, and a revised website that meets the expanded information needs of citizens, the Indy Library provides special services and adaptive technologies for accessing and using information with ease.

"When observing the thousands of individuals who visit our libraries each day, it's easy to view The Indianapolis Public Library as a mirror reflection of our community's broad diversity," stated Jackie Nytes, Library CEO. "That image of a diverse and dynamic community infuses all of our efforts, whether we are designing programming or building the collection."

The Library has been successful in a number of initiatives that foster diversity. It has actively identified the growing population of minority and women-owned businesses that could benefit from Library support. Dollars spent with such businesses have increased every year over the past 13 years. In 2011, of the competitive dollars available, the Library spent 15% with minority businesses, 8% with women-owned businesses, and 3% with veteran-owned businesses.

For 30 years, the Library's staff-run African-American History Committee has addressed the information and cultural needs of the local African-American community, presenting programming which highlights the accomplishments and heritage of African-Americans. Included is the prestigious Meet the Artists exhibit, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, which showcases locally-prominent African-American artists.

Most recently, the Library has worked closely with the Mayor's office to promote Sister City relationships with Hangzhou, China and Cologne, Germany through staff exchanges that help promote Indianapolis as a globally recognized city. This program will continue in 2013 with a city-wide reading program between Cologne and Indianapolis in which citizens will be encouraged to read and discuss the same book.

The Indianapolis Public Library continues to initiate a significant number of free events, exhibits, workshops and reading programs, and has set the standard for promoting excellent learning opportunities and professional development.

Learn more about Library programs and business opportunities at www.indypl.org.