Candidate for PLA President (2020–2021)

Michelle Jeske

Candidate for PLA President (2020–2021) Michelle JeskeBiography

Michelle Jeske is the City Librarian for Denver, CO, head of the 26-location urban library system with more than 4.4 million annual visitors. Jeske has worked for the Denver Public Library (DPL) since 2001 and appointed City Librarian in 2015. She has also served as DPL's Director of Collections, Technology and Innovation, Manager of Web Information Services, and Manager of the Community Technology Center. Prior to the DPL, Jeske worked for the TCL CARL Corporation, San Antonio (Texas) Public Library, and New York Public Library. She has been named a PLA Leadership Fellow, Colorado Librarian of the Year, and a Library Journal "Mover and Shaker." Jeske holds a Master’s of Librarianship degree from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from Trinity University of San Antonio, Texas. She also holds a Master’s Certificate in Workplace Learning and Performance from Colorado State University. During her tenure as City Librarian, the voters approved $69.3 million in bond funding to renovate 11 libraries, the library's Community Resources team has grown to four social workers and six peer navigators, and the library will open its sixth ideaLAB makerspace in 2019.

Jeske serves on the PLA Board of Directors, the PLA Family Engagement Task Force, and as a PLA Leadership Academy coach. She was on Conference Program Subcommittees for both the PLA 2016 and PLA 2018 Conferences. She chairs the Board of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries and is active in numerous Denver city and community groups focused on youth and community engagement. She is also a passionate advocate for the public library’s democratic role in the community. Jeske’s family includes a husband, two cats and a dog, In her spare time, she enjoys making mosaics, reading, hiking, cooking and fermenting.

Personal Statement

“The United States is at a critical point in its evolution and the principles of our profession and the roles we play in our communities are more important than ever to ensure that all people have free and equal access to information and opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. Public libraries are drivers of civic health, equity, and engagement. Individually, our libraries make positive impacts on our communities. Collectively, we have the power to make this a better world in which to live. If elected, I would work with PLA staff, board and members to help accomplish PLA's vision: A dynamic public library is the heart of every community. That requires fully embracing PLA's core values: Visionary Leadership; Member Focus; Integrity and Transparency; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Excellence and Innovation.”