Meet the PLA Board

Meet Cindy Fesemyer, Director-at-Large

Cindy Fesemyer takes in a soccer game with daughters Siena and ClaraLibraries are my second career, the one I purposely chose as opposed to the one I defaulted into some years ago. I was a non-profit administrator for 14 years holding roles in fundraising, financial management, and as a director with lots in between. When my kids were old enough, I traded non-profits for library school and haven’t looked back since. My MLS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies paired nicely with my two previous master’s degrees—in literature and writing education—and promptly landed me a role as director of the Columbus (WI) Public Library where I proudly serve today. Away from the library I’m a busy wife and mother, often carting my twin teenage daughters to various soccer events. Their love of the “beautiful game” wore off on me, and I now know more about international soccer than you might suspect from a middle-aged Midwestern librarian.

Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board

Serving on the PLA Board of Directors gives me the opportunity to be a voice and an advocate for the many small and rural public libraries across the country. There are so many of us out there, catering our services to the unique wants and needs of our communities. I’m proud to have the opportunity to share our stories at the national level. I’m eternally thankful to PLA for understanding the financial challenges small libraries face and changing its bylaws to provide the financial support necessary to get us “little guys” to the table.

My vision for the future of public libraries

I wholeheartedly believe that a vibrant future for public libraries is rooted in our relationships with the communities we serve. By asking our community members about their challenges and aspirations, and listening closely to their thoughts, we can tailor our offerings to perfectly fill gaps in services. In this way we can offer programs that engage community members as citizens, learners, fun-seekers and social beings. Public libraries are nothing without the people we serve; by knowing them both inside and outside of our library buildings, library professionals can—and do—change whole communities for the better. Ask. Listen. Act. Together!

My favorite book

My first thought, “Really?! Come on. A favorite book? One?” Being the rule-bender, here are some of my favorites: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters. Happy to be Nappy by bell hooks. Weaveworld by Clive Barker. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The Drifter series by Nick Petrie. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. The Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemison. Anything with vampires. Why? Because I love to read.

Somewhere I love to frequent in my community

Working closely every day with people, I sometimes need a break from… people. The best place for that is Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. The serenity of a pure lake—no electric motors allowed—and the high stone walls surrounding that lake create a perfect basin for swimming, kayaking and hiking. I camped there as a girl. My husband and I hiked there back when we were dating. Now our daughters enjoy it as much as we do. We especially like kayaking over the mirrored surface of the lake, fast and splashy on sunny days, slow and contemplative on cloudy days. Best. Place. Ever.

Photo: Cindy Fesemyer takes in a soccer game with daughters Siena and Clara.