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.

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

Procedures for Speakers

Coming soon.


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

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)

Speaker Request Form (to be built as dynamic form)

  1. Your Name __________________________________
  2. Name of Your Organization _______________________________
  3. Name of Speaking Engagement (e.g., Nebraska Library Association Conference) _______________________________________________
  4. Date of Speaking Engagement _______________________________________
  5. Start Time of Speaking Engagement (if known) _____________________________
  6. Duration of Requested Presentation (30 mins., 45 mins., etc.): _________________
  7. Are there funds available to cover the speaker’s travel/lodging expenses?
  8. If so, what is the funding limit? ________________
  9. Please select from the following list of presentation topics (choose one or more):

    PLA Overview (membership, volunteer opportunities, programs

    Consumer Health Information

    Digital Literacy

    Early Childhood Literacy

    Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Family Engagement

    Leadership Development

    Performance Measurement (Project Outcome)

    Public Library Issues (homelessness, opioid crisis, funding challenges, etc.)

    Short Story Dispenser Project

    Other (please describe in the comment field below)
  10. Additional comments/details regarding your request. If you would like to request a specific speaker from the bureau, please indicate so here: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________