Meet the PLA Board

Meet Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne, PhD, Past-President

Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne and her husband, John

I was appointed Director for Palo Alto (Calif.) City Library in May 2011. A native Californian, I’ve lived all my life in Northern California. My first library was the Carmichael branch of the Sacramento Public Library. Growing up in the Redding area, I experienced rural libraries and an awesome high school library. I attended the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, Berkeley. Recently I earned a PhD in Managerial Leadership in Information Professions (MLIP) from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston.

I’ve been an adult, government documents, children’s, teen, and high school librarian before becoming director at the Benicia (Calif.) Public Library in 1998 and then at the Richmond (Calif.) Public Library in 2004. There, I also directed Recreation and Cultural Arts, which, as a library leader, has led me to seek out opportunities to collaborate with other organizations. I’m a Chief Executive Fellow for National Arts Strategies and in 2008 served as president of the California Library Association.  

Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board

I think it’s fundamental to professional engagement, whether it is at a national level or more locally: I wanted to have an impact and give back to the profession that I’ve loved in any way possible, so when Larry Neal encouraged me to get involved, I jumped at the chance. PLA is a leader and a respected organization focused on its members and the benefit of public libraries. It was an honor to be nominated, and I’m thrilled to serve!

My vision for the future of public libraries

I want public libraries to be the first, best, “go-to” community space offering information, services, and other resources that meet every need for each member of the community, whenever and wherever they need it. Public libraries will be easily accessible and delivered professionally by friendly, passionate, well-trained staff who engage with everyone inside the library and out, and will include other experts to meet needs that might not be ordinarily thought of as “library” to the community. Plus, I want every library to be enjoyable and valued as the heart of the community it serves.

My favorite book

It’s usually the one I’ve most-recently read.

Somewhere I love to frequent in my community

In Palo Alto, where I work, and Richmond, where I live, I enjoy visiting the local Art Centers to see what’s going on in art in our community, region, or state. As a design major for undergrad, finding ways to feed that creative side restores and invigorates me. Usually, it gives me a different perspective on everything, including libraries.

Photo: Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne and her husband, John, visiting Yosemite National Park in 2016.