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East Lansing Public Library searches for interim director, reaches agreement with workers union

Front of East Lansing Public Library located on 950 Abbot Road, East Lansing MI
Genevieve Fox
The library's director and assistant director are stepping down.

At a Monday special meeting of the East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees, administrators discussed the selection of an interim director and approved a contract agreement with the union representing workers in non-supervisor roles.

The meeting came after Library Director Kristen Shelley and Assistant Director Brice Bush announced they're resigning next week.

Shelley posted a message to social media to share she’s moving to direct a library in Indiana next month. In her Facebook post, she said she’s proud of the work accomplished during her tenure, including library renovations and two millage campaigns to fund library services.

Shelley faced scrutiny from the library’s Board of Trustees in recent months following an alleged racial profiling incident earlier this year. She allegedly called the police on a Black teen she falsely identified as involved in a previous fire incident.

The board discussed the process for selecting an interim library director. The board plans to post a listing and conduct interviews during a future special meeting.

Trustees also ratified a contract with the union of workers in non-supervisory roles following weeks of negotiations between the two parties.

The contract provides for a 9-14% wage increase for workers.

Gabrielle Kindig is the library’s marketing and communications specialist. She says she’s glad the library came to an agreement with the union.

“One thing that (the contract) ... emphasizes some pretty good increases to worker pay, especially for those who were the currently lowest paid, so that was exciting," Kindig said. "We're excited to be wrapping it up."

In a statement, the union said it's grateful to have finalized contract negotiations.

"We remain committed to building a strong library together with the community," the statement said. "We look forward to collaborating with anyone who shares our vision of a community oriented library staffed by justly compensated, fairly treated, and respected library workers."

Kindig says the contract needs to be signed by all parties before it can go into effect.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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