Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne – Candidate for PLA President

Me, enjoying Yosemite in 2016.

Working at the City of Palo Alto, where we have an Office of Sustainability (, means that our business activities and programs and entire orientation includes ways to make our libraries more sustainable. In fact, we are a partner with other city departments and the community in all types of efforts, including the Cool Smart Cities project. Three of the five library branches have achieved LEED status (2 silver, 1 platinum) and others have been renovated to highlight ways that the buildings have added “green” factors. I’ve spoken about our building development and planning in conferences and webinars, describing how we continue to build on the education possibilities and community education and our LEED platinum rated building has a collection and education focus on green building practices.

Why do I mention this about my workplace? For me, sustainability has become an internal and external value, part of who we all are as library workers, as green leaders, and as part of our communities. Libraries are the ultimate tool for sustainability – not only can we educate our communities and model sustainable practices, as we incorporate these practices into our daily work, we become ambassadors. I know that this carries itself forward into how I approach problem solving, strategy development, and resource allocation. This is true not only for my daily work, but my participation in PLA. I feel that this is an area that continues to grow and one where PLA can position to be a leader.

More than this, sustainability is about how public libraries can continue to function as the vital community education and workforce resource they are. In most communities, the public library offers a neutral space for pursuing truth and making citizenship in all its forms available. PLA will continue to emphasize the value this brings to communities and, with my background and experience, will ensure that sustainability is just as much a part of the culture as it is where I work every day. I encourage you to do the same – participate in the election and make your priorities known.

Thank you for your work and your dedication to this important issue. I welcome any comments or questions!

The Mitchell Park Library & Community Center, the LEED Platinum and Library Journal Landmark Library opened in 2014.




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