Meet the PLA Board

Meet Pam Sandlian Smith, President

Pam Sandlian Smith biking in ColoradoAs Director of Anythink Libraries, I’ve worked with a collaborative team to reinvent libraries in Adams County, Colorado. Anythink is a library focused on participatory learning, community engagement and shifting perceptions of the role of libraries. Anythink has been awarded the IMLS 2010 National Medal of Honor for innovating library services and the 2011 John Cotton Dana award and the Library Journal 2011 Landmark Library Award. I was awarded the 2012 Charlie Robinson Award for innovation and risk taking in public libraries and was the Colorado Librarian of the year in 2010. Previously, I was the Director of the West Palm Beach (Fla.) Public Library, and the Manager of Children’s Services at the Denver (Colo.) Public Library. I enjoy traveling, writing, cooking for friends, baking pies and inventing libraries that support learning and curiosity.

Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board

From the beginning of my career, PLA has always been a catalyst for engaging in ideas and working with colleagues who excel at their work. PLA has helped me think of my work as more than a job. Our work in libraries is more of a calling, a mission to be part of something that is much bigger than simply organizing and circulating books.

My vision for the future of public libraries

The public library is moving from a place of books and information to a place of collaboration, possibilities, and curiosity. The library is a convener of conversations. It is a place of self-directed learning, content creation, and production. The library can be the center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. The library supports the success of both the individual and the community. The public library is a center of happiness, hope, and aspiration. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

My favorite book

One of my favorite books is Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.

Somewhere I love to frequent in my community

A couple of favorites: the Clear Creek Bike trail is a beautiful ride along a creek, connecting to the Platt River Trail that heads into downtown Denver. A new Belgium Brew Pub, Bruz, that just recently opened in our neighborhood. We can walk from our house, bring our dog and there are always people there that we know and love to talk to. The studio at the Denver Art Museum. This space is always changing depending on the exhibits. It is an open invitation to paint, draw, make a piece of jewelry, or watch an artist perform their craft. The studio supports the creative life of our community.

Photo: Pam biking in Colorado.