For Adults

2021 CEO Love Your Library Tour

04/14/2021 | Programs & Events, Featured Event

Love Your Library Share Your Voice

Stop by and say hello to Jackie Nytes, the CEO of The Indianapolis Public Library!

Jackie is stopping by every Library branch throughout the month of May. She wants to hear from patrons and community members to see how we are doing, how we can better serve you, and share our new strategic plan. Stop by for an informal chat and check out a book or movie while you are there!

See Jackie's schedule of branch visits here.

Note: There is one online session for those who prefer to participate from home on Tuesday, May 25 at 6:30pm - register here.

Love Your Library: A Conversation with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

This May, Indianapolis Public Library CEO Jackie Nytes is shaking up the typical format of her annual Love Your Library tour. Rather than hosting community meetings at every branch, Nytes will be available for informal conversations about The Libraries' goals and the needs of the community. We caught up with Nytes to learn about the tour and her plans for the Library’s future.

You have been CEO of the Library for about nine years. What changes and developments that you have played a role in during your tenure are you most proud of?

The very first year I was here, we had been through a difficult financial period, and Library hours were seriously reduced. I came in January, and by June we were able to get them restored. That was a really important step to rebuild our relationship with the community. We launched our strategic plan in 2014. It laid out our work for us, had a lot of objectives about the new branches we have been able to open or remodel. It said a lot about growing our collection, growing our relationships with schools, and staff training with an emphasis on technology.

The Library had to be adaptable during the Covid-19 pandemic while being mindful of how the community relies on our services. What lessons from the pandemic do you think we will take with us as we transition to in-person events and programming?

As much as we were working on technology, when we had to lockdown we found out what we did or did not have prepared. Staff learned how to deliver services from home and took advantage of technology to help patrons, especially kids studying at home. I think a couple of the tools we have developed will stay with us. Curbside services are something we’ll continue to do for patrons who want it. If you are a parent with three young toddlers in the car and all you want to do is to pick up a hold, how wonderful it is to not have to haul the kids in. There is a place for virtual programming in our future. We can have the joy of a story hour together, but we can also offer on-demand story hours. We learned a lot about our ability to deliver services virtually, but nothing beats having our locations open to the public and having our team together sharing and collaborating.

The Library recently launched a new strategic plan, and racial equity is at the forefront of its values and strategic priorities. Can you talk about why, as a library, it is important for racial equity to be embedded in its culture?

We know there is work to do to make sure that we serve the entire community. We are making a conscious effort to have every single member of our team understand that racial equity is the foundation for everything we are doing. If we don't think about this with every program we plan, every book we buy, every librarian we hire, every business we sign a contract with, we are not going to make a difference.

Why do you think the Library has remained such a relevant aspect of the Indianapolis community?

I think we are viewed as a safe place, a place that doesn't ask too many questions. We don't take a ticket or ask to see your ID. Even a coffee shop wants to know how long you will sit before you buy coffee. People want to be able to have nice places where they can pursue their dreams and goals for the day; they want access to high-speed internet. Sometimes they want a place to sit in the window and write, or sit in a chair and read when their houses are crowded and school is wearing them out. They want an alternative, and I think that's us.

You’ll be kicking off a CEO tour soon, where patrons will have a chance to stop by their nearest branch and chat with you. Can you share why you decided to go with this conversational format for the tour?

The meetings are an opportunity to update folks on what we are up to and to listen. Everything has been unpredictable this year. We usually do this in February, but our meeting rooms were full of quarantined books. We concluded that it will be nice out during the month of May. I can hang out at the front door and greet our patrons, ask what's on their mind, and say “welcome back to The Library.” I’ll get to listen, which is the most important thing.

Jackie's Favorite Things

Favorite local restaurant: India Garden downtown. If they are closed, I’ll take any other Indian restaurant!

Favorite midwestern weekend getaway: A quick trip to Chicago is always on my list.

Favorite local shop: Sullivan Hardware and Garden Center. I can get lost there for ages. Right now they are packed with summer flowers, and during Christmas time they have Christmas trees.

Favorite place to catch live music or a performance: I like to catch The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on the circle, or at Conner Prairie. It's a tough one because I would have followed up with the Jazz Kitchen.

A book recommendation that's in our collection: If someone asks for something cool to read, I'd choose any August Wilson play. The IRT has done his plays, and I think they are wonderful.

A music recommendation that's in our collection: Anything at all by Bruce Springsteen.

A movie recommendation that’s in our collection: The Sound of Music. It’s a classic.

Upcoming CEO Tour Dates

Chat with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

Chat with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

East 38th Street Branch

Stop by and say hello to Jackie Nytes, the CEO of The Indianapolis Public Library!

Chat with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

Chat with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

Martindale-Brightwood Branch

Stop by and say hello to Jackie Nytes, the CEO of The Indianapolis Public Library!

Chat with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

Chat with IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes

Spades Park Branch

Stop by and say hello to Jackie Nytes, the CEO of The Indianapolis Public Library!