Denver City Librarian
Michelle Jeske is the Denver City Librarian, head of the 26-location urban library system with more than 4.4 million annual visitors. Michelle has worked for the Denver Public Library since 2001 and appointed City Librarian in 2015. She has served in a number of positions at the library including the director of Collections, Technology and Innovation and manager of Web Information Services and the Community Technology Center. Prior to the Denver Public Library, Jeske worked for the TLC CARL Corporation, San Antonio Public Library and New York Public Library. Her honors include Public Library Association (PLA) Leadership Fellow, Colorado Librarian of the Year and Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Michelle earned her Master’s of Librarianship from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
She also holds a Master’s certificate in Organizational Development from Colorado State University.
Michelle serves on the PLA Board of Directors, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries Board and PLA Family Engagement Task Force. She is a passionate advocate for the public library’s democratic role in the community and is active in numerous city and community groups focused on youth and community engagement such as the Denver Afterschool Alliance Board and the Education Compact.
Learn more about Michelle Jeske’s work with The Harwood Institute:
How has your work been impacted by the Turning Outward practice?
We have been turning outward over the last several years. Using these practices has allowed us to better understand our community. We are currently using what we have heard over the course of two years to determine how the library will engage with the Denver community in the future. The public knowledge gained is a crucial component in our strategic planning process.
How do you view the role of libraries in your community?
Public libraries are drivers of civic health 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. The library is a trusted institution with a significant role in helping individuals and neighborhoods thrive.
What would you say to a library professional who aims to make more positive, lasting impact on their community?
Listen. Stop talking about the library so much.
What are some of your aspirations for your library, your community, and our larger society?
All people have free and equitable access to information and opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. Democracy thrives in America.