Nichelle Hayes

    Nichelle M. Hayes

    Nichelle M. Hayes, MPA, MLS, is the President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association BCALA (2022-2024). She works as an Information Professional with a focus on the African Diaspora, Community Engagement and Inclusion. As an active member of ALA she serves on the “2023 ALA Nominating Committee” & “Working Group to Condemn White Supremacy and Fascism as Antithetical to Library Work” 2022 – 2023. Hayes was recently honored as a 2023 Culture Carrier Award Honoree and 2022 National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Breakthrough Women Award. Co-editor of The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening (2022). She is a genealogist with a focus on African Ancestry and keeping families connected, as documented in her blog “The Ties that Bind.” Hayes is a graduate of the former IU School of Library & Information Science (SLIS) with her Masters in Library Science, (now Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indianapolis).


    Jason Alston

    Jason Alston

    My name is Jason Alston, and I grew up partially in Soul City, North Carolina and partially in Richmond, Virginia. I hold a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, an MLS from North Carolina Central University and a PhD in library and information science from the University of South Carolina.

    I have served 3 terms on the executive board, have been on the conference planning team for 3 NCAALs, have served as BCALA News editor for 6 years, have served on the social media team and now on the strategic planning committee.

    Actively involved with:

    • Missouri Library Association diversity task force
    • Assisting with the creation of a library at KC Girls Preparatory Academy, which primarily serves Black and Latina girls at the middle school level.
    • BCALA strategic planning committee
    • American Libraries advisory board chair

    Shauntee Burns-Simpson

    Shauntee Burns-Simpson
    Immediate Past President

    Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Associate Director for the Center of Educators and Schools at The New York Public Library. An ambassador for libraries and librarianship. Mrs. Simpson enjoys connecting people to the public library and its resources. As a Youth Librarian, she works closely with at risk teens and fosters a love of reading and learning with her innovative programming. In addition to her work with a host of professional organizations, she Chaired the American Library Association Office of Diversity, Literacy, & Outreach Services (ODLOS) Committee on Diversity.

Our Valuable Team Members

  • Naomi Dunsen-White

    Naomi Dunsen-White
    Assistant Secretary

    Naomi V. Dunsen-White is an award-winning children’s book author who writes books that represent children of Color. She is a former educator and foster care specialist who seeks to make a difference in children’s lives by publishing books that are educational, uplifting and inclusive with positive messages about the Black family and community, self-determination, self-discovery, and the power of imagination. Naomi is also a book editor, who takes great pleasure and sincere pride in assisting authors in bringing their stories to the world. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Editorial Freelancer’s Association. Naomi has fundraised and donated over 800 copies of her two children’s books. She recently established a nonprofit organization, Literacy and Diversity for All, Inc., with the mission of providing literacy support and promoting positive representation of children in under-represented communities through the creation, publishing and charitable distribution of books featuring characters of Color, written and/or illustrated by people of Color.
  • Brenda Johnson-Perkins

    Brenda Johnson-Perkins
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    Brenda Johnson-Perkins serves as a librarian and Children and Family Engagement Coordinator at Baltimore County Public Library. She has a passion for community outreach and promoting equitable services to underserved groups. She received an MA degree in Black Comparative Literature from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in 1996 and a MLIS from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2019. She is a 2015 Spectrum Scholar and a recent graduate of the Maryland Leadership Institute.

  • Michele Fenton

    Michele Fenton

    Michele Fenton is a catalog librarian at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. She received her MLIS from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Michele is a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH), the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), the ALA International Relations Round Table (IRRT); and was a 2016 IFLA IMLS Fellow. Michele’s interests include African American history, African American genealogy, international librarianship, and cataloging.

  • Rudolph Clay

    Rudolph Clay
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    Rudolph Clay (MLS, MA in Human Resources) has been a member of BCALA for over twenty years, working primarily with membership and coordinating the NCAAL exhibits. He is a founding member of the St. Louis Regional Librarians BCALA Affiliate. At Washington University in St. Louis, he serves as Head of Library Diversity Programs and Policy and manages a summer internship program which seeks to encourage undergraduate students of color to consider academic librarianship as a career.

  • Taryn Fouche

    Taryn Fouche
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    “In 2016, Ms. Fouché received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baruch College where she majored in Creative Arts Marketing and minored in Religion and Culture. Since 2016, she has four years of experience at the Queens Public Library where she started as a volunteer Marketing Intern for six months, became part-time as a Government and Community Affairs Assistant and is now a full-time Customer Service Supervisor. Ms. Fouché was the Queens Public Library 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Community Service Award for providing notary public services in the community of Flushing, Queens, New York.

    Ms. Fouché is a recent graduate student from Queens College where she received a Master’s of Library and Science degree with a Certificate in Children’s and Young Adult Services in the Public Library in May 2020. Her goal is to become a children’s librarian in underserved communities of color, to support black communities, and to encourage literacy to all.”

  • Jessica Tingling

    Jessica Tingling
    Board Member, 2021-2023

    Jessica Jackson Tingling is the founder and publisher of J&B Press LLC and the Upper School Librarian at the Baldwin School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her MSLIS from Drexel University and her MA in History from Millersville University. Jessica is an avid reader and passionate advocate for information access. Over the last 12 years, she has worked as an Academic Reference Librarian at the university level and supported archival endeavors in both public and private collections. Jessica has also facilitated classroom instruction across age groups and with students showcasing an array of capabilities and interests. Throughout this time, Jessica has served on a number of committees. A few include the Franklin & Marshall College African American Alumni Council, the Records Committee of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of ChurchTowne in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Fundraising and Programming Committees of the National Conference of African American Librarians, and the Fundraising and History Committees of the Black Caucus of American Library Association. She also supports the organization WOC+Lib as the Marketing & Lead Content Designer. Jessica is proud to serve on the executive board of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and looks forward to supporting the organization as it continues to grow, expand, and build upon our noteworthy foundation.


  • Yolanda Gleason

    Yolanda Gleason
    Board Member, 2021-2023

    Yolanda Renee Gleason is the Borough Director for the 53 locations in Staten Island and Manhattan at The New York Public Library. A lifelong New Yorker, she received her Masters in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute. Yolanda has been a librarian for more than 20 years. During her tenure at The New York Public Library, she has been a children’s librarian, a branch librarian, and a Network Associate Director. She is a member of the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, and a life member of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, serving as Co-Chair of the Dr. E.J. Josey scholarship committee. Yolanda is also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.


  • Denise Lyles

    Denise Lyles
    Board Member, 2021-2023

    Denise K Lyles, currently manages 2 locations of the Ferguson Library in Stamford, CT., Weed Hollander and Harry Bennett Libraries. Denise has thirteen years of library experience. She has worked in a managerial capacity at libraries in New York, including, The New York Public Library and other libraries across the Westchester Library System


  • Tiffani Carter

    Tiffani Carter
    2021-2023, Board Member

    Tiffani N. Carter is a graduate of Kent State University’s Master of Library and Information Science program. Tiffani has also earned a Master of Arts in Communication with a Minor in Marketing and Cultural Studies with a Certification in College Student Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a Minor in Business Management and Marketing – both from Northern Kentucky University. Tiffani has taught communication courses including Cross-Cultural Communication, Interracial Communication and International Popular Culture. Tiffani’s areas of interest include public librarianship, technology training, staff development, programming and outreach. Tiffani has gained career experience at the Cincinnati Public & Hamilton County Public Library, The Indianapolis Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library and currently Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library.


  • Tracy Scott

    Tracy Scott
    Board Member, 2021-2023

    Tracy is a 23-year library veteran that with experience in special, academic and public libraries. Currently, the manager of Tulsa City-County Library’s Literacy, Outreach & Volunteer Services Department, she’s always searching for new ways to connect the library to people and remove barriers to library service. She received her MLIS from the University of Oklahoma and has a Bachelors in Anthropology from George Washington University. She’s completed postgraduate work in public administration and diversity, equity and inclusion and is a graduate of the Oklahoma Library Association’s Leadership Institute. She’s currently pursuing a Master in Integrative Leadership. She recently served as the Local Arrangements Co-Chair for NCAAL XI. She is a member of the Tulsa City-County Library’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Executive Council and led the creation of the library’s Let’s Talk About Race Initiative. An avid non-fiction reader, she wrote the “Life Stories” chapter in Latino Literature A Guide to Reading Interests.


  • Tracey Overbey

    Tracey Overbey
    Board Member, 2021-2023

    Tracey A. Overbey is currently an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Libraries. Previously, she served as the Education Librarian at the Cleveland Public Library (Ohio). Tracey has collaborated closely with grass-root organizations and other nonprofits to bring relevant programming to urban communities. She has published in Public Library Quarterly, International Journal of Environmental Health Research and has presented papers at conferences of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). She earned her M.L.I.S from the University of Pittsburgh.


  • Wanda K. Brown

    Wanda K. Brown

    Wanda Kay Brown is the director of library services at the C. G. O’Kelly Library at Winston-Salem State University. (WSSU) Prior to her appointment, she served as the Associate Dean of Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Brown has spent some 40 years in the profession. Along the way she has focused on being “professionally active” in state and national library organizations. In June of 2019 she assumed the role of President for the American Library Association (ALA). As ALA president, Brown was the chief elected officer for the largest library association in the world. Brown has held numerous positions with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) including service as treasurer (2016-2018) and service as president (2006-08), treasurer (1992-96) and two terms as an Executive Board member (2001-03, 2014-16). She was the 2011-13 president of the North Carolina Library Association and has held various other positions with NCLA, including treasurer (1991-98) and the 2005-09 chair of the Finance Committee. An ALA member for 30+ years, Brown is an active member of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA). She has held multiple leadership positions within each division. She is the 2015 recipient of the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence, the 2013 BCALA Leadership Award, and the 2012 BCALA Distinguished Service Award. In 2009, she received University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Kovacs Award for Outstanding Alumni Achievement, and in 2013, UNCG awarded Brown with the School of Education Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. Brown holds a BA in English, with a minor in psychology from Winston-Salem State University, and an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


  • Tamela Chambers

    Tamela Chambers
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    I am a library professional with 20 plus years of experience serving all ages in school and public library settings. I am a product of both Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Public Library, and it has been an honor to pay it forward. I am a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising, Master of Science in library information science and school library certification. I also hold a Master of Education in early childhood curriculum and instruction and a certificate of advance study in education technology from National Louis University.


  • LaKeshia Darden

    LaKeshia Darden
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    I am currently the associate librarian for reference and instruction for Warren Library at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach Florida. In the fall of 2020, I completed my doctoral degree in educational leadership from Fayetteville State University. My dissertation, Diversity Training Through Story: University Professionals Explore Narratives of the Black Experience by Reading Coretta Scott King Book Awards Titles, explored the effectiveness of narrative theory coupled with using award-winning Black children’s literature as a diversity training tool with white university professionals. I have been a member of BCALA for several years; a member of the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards Committee for which I served on the jury from 2017-2021; and 2019-2021, I served as the chair. In addition, I am currently serving a two-year term on the American Library Association’s Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Assembly. I have designed, led, and facilitated EDI trainings for colleges and universities, public libraries, and special interest groups. I am the wife of Lt. Col. Kurtis Darden (USAF) and together we have six children. I look forward to serving BCALA in this new role.


  • Leslie Etienne

    Leslie Etienne
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    Dr. Leslie Etienne’s previous professional experience was based in youth leadership and development, social services, and K-12 education. He has also worked with the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN, and Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide in Atlanta, GA. He is a proud graduate of two historically Black institutions. Philander Smith College, where he earned a BA in Psychology and Clark Atlanta University where he completed a master’s degree in International Affairs & Development. He attained his doctorate in Leadership and Organizational Change from Antioch University. Dr. Etienne currently works at IUPUI as a Clinical Associate Professor of Africana Studies in the School of Liberal Arts, where he is also the Director of the Africana Studies Program and Founding Executive Director of the Center for Africana Studies and Culture. Dr. Etienne’s research interests are based in Black freedom movement histories, frameworks for grassroots leadership and organizing, and the justice-based multigenerational emancipatory education found in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Freedom Schools enacted during the “Freedom Summer” in 1964. In the community, he is Project Director for the IUPUI Center for Africana Studies and Culture/School of Education/Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School site. He also serves as the Vice President of the Joseph Taylor Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. A former Peace Corps volunteer, he served in Guyana, S. America from 1997-1999 as an urban youth development worker. Dr. Etienne values interaction with students and enjoys teaching and mentoring.


  • Laura Johnson

    Laura Johnson
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    Laura Adair Johnson, B.A., M.L.S., C.A.S. Laura is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. She completed a BA in French and an M.L.S. at UNC-Greensboro. She earned an advanced degree in Educational Media and completed Educational Administration certification at UNC-Charlotte. Laura is also a graduate of the BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Women Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is currently working on her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Throughout her career, she has been a public librarian, a school media specialist, a coordinator of special programs, and a classroom teacher. Laura retired from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a Vice Principal at West Charlotte High School. Since 2012, she has served as the Director of Library Services at Livingstone College where she started her academic career as the Reference Librarian


  • Olanike Olaniyi

    Olanike Olaniyi
    Board Member, 2022-2024

    I was born in Nigeria and practiced as librarian before moving to the United States with my family some years ago. I have a bachelor’s degree in library, archival and information studies, a master’s degree in information science from University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a master’s degree in from Indiana University. I am a Certified Community Health Worker. I currently work with the Indianapolis Public Library in Collection Management & Acquisition but had earlier worked as Children’s Librarian and Digital Projects Librarian. I was the library’s first Diversity Fellow. I am passionate about researching, collaborating, and connecting my communities with their diverse information needs and backgrounds.


  • Ana Ndumu

    Ana Ndumu
    Board Member 2021-2023

    Ana Ndumu has over 15 years of experience in academic libraries, specifically the campus libraries at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland.


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