Candidate for PLA President (2018–2019)
Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne
Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne’s entire career has been in public libraries. Not only that, she has been in public libraries in Northern California for her entire career, including a few flirtations with consulting work and teaching in library graduate school. She has worked at Solano County (Calif.) Library, first in government documents, then as a children's librarian. That work led her to be involved in ALA, ALSC, YALSA, and, of course, PLA. She found her groove in all aspects of youth services and was lucky enough to become a YA librarian at her hometown library in Benicia, California, which led to becoming the library director there in 1998, her dream come true! In October 2004, she was director of Library & Cultural Services for the City of Richmond, California, where her responsibilities included supervising the City’s Arts & Culture and Recreation departments. Now she has been the director for the Palo Alto (Calif.) City Library since May 2011. Their $76 million library bond allowed them to renovate, add on to, or replace 3 of the 5 branches, including Mitchell Park Library & Community Center, which was rated LEED Platinum and earned Library Journal Landmark Library status in 2015.
She grew up in a rural part of Northern California, in the Redding area, where the library in her small town was a tiny storefront, where she participated in the summer reading program each year. She regularly visited a county library near her high school, which was an afterschool refuge. Having that experience led her first to earn a bachelor of science degree in design from UC Davis in 1987, and then a master of library and information studies from UC Berkeley in 1988. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Managerial Leadership in Information Professions, where she’s hoping and planning to defend before the end of February 2017. She is a Chief Executive Fellow for National Arts Strategies, where she’s able to talk with other cultural professionals about the intersection of libraries, the arts, and cultural institutions all over the world. In 2008, she served as President of the California Library Association.
She lives in Richmond, California, with her husband, John, and has three adult children. She likes to play golf, hike, and travel, enjoy wine, and go to baseball games (go A's) when she’s not commuting to and from work.
“My interest in PLA leadership is likely not the same at this moment as it was earlier in 2016. Now, I am convinced that public libraries need to find creative, compelling ways to look at the work they do, why it matters, and to find the stories that demonstrate the value within. Our daily work, welcoming the community to us and serving them where they are, may be challenging in the next few years. I want us to work together to find the best way to respond to whatever may come and to be prepared to provide the highest level of professional support to our members. My experience serving within PLA and other ALA committees makes me well-prepared to collaborate with the Board and the PLA staff to ensure that we are well-prepared for the future.”