Girl Boss 2019: Libby Holtmann

Some people have a song in their hearts. Colleagues might call Libby Holtmann, director of the Plano Public Library, a dance party waiting to happen. 

“Libby’s been known to start dancing in meetings,” said Mark Israelson, Plano’s city manager. “She overflows with fun and brings that enthusiasm to the workplace.”  

She has brought that exuberance to a serious project over the last three years: #morethanbooks, an initiative to share the library’s resources well beyond the walls of its five locations. That included the addition of the #morethanbooks outreach van (purchased with donations from the Friends of the Plano Public Library) to take library staff to underserved neighborhoods, senior centers and community events, reaching Plano residents who might not otherwise get to a library. 

“I thrive on what’s next,” she said. “I’m always wanting to do more and do better.” 

Libby says she never attached the word “leader” to herself until joining Leadership Plano’s Class 23 about 15 years ago. 

“The program taught me that whenever you’re bringing together different people, you should also think about who’s not at the table and who could be brought to the table,” she said. That became a guiding principle as Libby enlisted the library’s 180 staff members in developing the #morethanbooks initiative.    

Past leadership roles include mentoring students at Carlisle Elementary through Plano’s Workplace Cares and serving as a board member for Plano Youth Leadership. 

Libby’s roots in Plano run deep: She was born here, grew up here, works here and now is raising her family here. And yes, as a kid, she loved the library. 

“It was a big part of my childhood,” she said. “Books were my happy place.” Three years ago, she became the library’s fourth director since 1965.  

Even though she loves serving as director, Libby says the best part of her job remains serving patrons. Once a week, she makes time for what she calls “happy hour.” 

“Happy hour is walking on the public floor and talking to people and helping them,” she said. “For me, it’s just joyous.”

See all of the 2019 Girl Bosses >
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