CONNECT 15 HONOREE!
ANNE-MARIE DESPAIN WILL BE ACCEPTING THE AWARD ON BEHALF OF THE SAN MATEO COUNTY LIBRARY
Proud public librarian and literacy builder. DIYer, urban gardener, avid hiker, rule challenger. Champion of raising readers and strong girls.
Anne-Marie Despain, this year’s Connect15 honoree, has dedicated 30 years to public library service. Six years ago, she assumed the position of Director of Library Services at San Mateo County Library (SMCL). She oversees the district’s 12 community libraries, bookmobile and virtual library in providing equal access to services and technology and ensuring the library stays dedicated to its role as a learning institution.
Under Anne-Marie’s leadership, SMCL has implemented innovative technology programs to close the digital divide, including increasing bandwidth to 1Gbps at all libraries; launching laptop, eReader and hotspot lending programs; and offering high-tech programs such as 3D printing; early literacy app education; and gaming, music and film maker classes. Additionally, as one of the largest providers of free Internet in the county, SMCL offers over 500 public computers and provides thousands with wireless access everyday.
Anne-Marie holds a Masters in Library Science from Emporia State University and a Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Utah. Throughout her career she has championed risk-taking, challenged practices that limit access, worked to create welcoming spaces that promote community pride, and expanded the library’s role as an early learning leader.
The San Mateo County Library is a Joint Powers Authority comprised of the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, San Carlos, Woodside and the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. Recognized as one of the nation’s top public libraries by Library Journal, SMCL is currently ranked 15th nationwide and 2nd in California among similar peer libraries.