PLA Speakers Bureau

The Public Library Association (PLA) is pleased to offer a Speakers Bureau to connect event organizers with the most relevant thought leaders in the public library field.

Requesting a Speaker

Please begin by completing the Speaker Request Form. Please submit requests only for speaking opportunities six weeks or more from the submission date. Once the form is submitted, PLA staff will review your request and make the opportunity available to the bureau. PLA will attempt to accommodate your request as much as possible within the constraints of our speakers’ schedules, availability to travel to your selected location, and level of comfort with the desired presentation topics. PLA staff will respond to your request within one week of its submission to let you know the status. If the request can be fulfilled, PLA staff will work with you to coordinate the speaker's travel arrangements, lodging (if needed), and other details. If you have any questions, contact Laurence Deutsch at ldeutsch@ala.org.

Interested in Becoming a Speaker?

The Speakers Bureau welcomes the addition of expert resources. If interested in joining the PLA Speakers Bureau as a volunteer presenter, please contact us at PLA-speakers@ala.org


Our Speakers

Monique le Conge ZiesenhenneMonique le Conge Ziesenhenne
PLA President
Director, Palo Alto City Library (Palo Alto, CA)

I was appointed director for Palo Alto (CA) 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 (CA) Public Library in 1998 and then at the Richmond (CA) 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.

Ramiro S. SalazarRamiro S. Salazar
PLA President-Elect
Director, San Antonio Public Library (San Antonio, TX)

I’ve had the honor of leading the San Antonio (TX) Public Library as its director since April 2005. Prior to that, I was the director of the Dallas Public Library and the El Paso Public Library. It's hard to imagine that I've been working in public libraries for close to 40 years. Throughout my professional career I’ve experienced and seen first-hand the evolution of public libraries. I still remember when the card catalog used to be the place to check the holdings of the library. I even remember checking out books manually. I have a deep-rooted passion for serving public libraries and have been fortunate to experience many accomplishments throughout my career. I’m most proud of the establishment of the new Latino Collection and Resource Center at the San Antonio Public Library’s Central Library. This Center serves as a cultural destination to learn about the contributions of Latinos across the U.S.

Pam Sandlian SmithPam Sandlian Smith
PLA Past-President
Director, Anythink Libraries (Adams County, CO)

As 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 (FL) Public Library, and the manager of Children’s Services at the Denver (CO) Public Library. I enjoy traveling, writing, cooking for friends, baking pies, and inventing libraries that support learning and curiosity.

Stephanie Chase
ALA Division Councilor
Director, Hillsboro Public Library (Hillsboro, OR)

Cindy Fesemyer
PLA Director-at-Large
Library Director, Columbus Public Library (Columbus, WI)

Richard Kong
PLA Director-at-Large
Director, Skokie Public Library (Skokie, IL)

Michelle Jeske
PLA Director-at-Large
City Librarian (Denver, CO)

Carrie Plymire
PLA Director-at-Large
Director, Calvert Library (Calvert, MD)

Tracy Strobel
PLA Director-at-Large
Deputy Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma, OH)

Kelvin Watson
PLA Director-at-Large
Director, Broward County Libraries Division (Fort Lauderdale, FL)