Board of Directors


Denise Stephens, Chair

Dean of University Libraries, University of Oklahoma

Denise Stephens was appointed the Peggy V. Helmerich Dean of University Libraries at University of Oklahoma in January 2021. Previously, Stephens served as the Vice Provost and University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis, where she managed the University Libraries’ nine locations, the system’s vast archives and special collections, and more than 150 professional and support staff. Before joining Washington University, Stephens served as university librarian at University of California at Santa Barbara for five years. Her background includes a broad range of leadership and management roles related to the intersection of evolving information resource strategies and scholarship in the academic environment. She has actively participated in implementing digital library initiatives and service programs in research university libraries for 20 years. In addition to her current position, she has held leadership roles at Syracuse University, as Associate and Acting University Librarian, and the University of Kansas, where she served as Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer. Early in her career, she helped to launch transformative spatial data services among emerging digital library programs at the University of Virginia. Stephens has a BA in Political Science and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

Jill Bourne

City Librarian, San José, California

Jill Bourne is the city librarian in San José, California, overseeing the city’s main Martin Luther King, Jr., Library, in a partnership with the San José State University, and 22 branch libraries. In 2017, Bourne was named the Library Journal Librarian of the Year.  A member of the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board and American Library Association Committee on Literacy, Bourne has also been acknowledged as a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker.” Bourne holds a B.A. from New York University and an MLIS from the University of Washington.

Laura DeBonis, Treasurer

Laura DeBonis

Independent Consultant

Laura DeBonis works as an independent consultant and advisor to tech startups and nonprofits. Recently she concluded her term on the Public Interest Declassification Board at the National Archives, to which she was appointed in 2015 by President Obama and where she served as Co-Chair of the Technology Working Group.  Laura has previously worked at EF Education First and Google in a variety of positions including Director of Library Partnerships for Book Search, Google’s initiative to make all the world’s books discoverable and searchable online. Laura started her career in documentary film and multimedia and in strategy consulting for internet businesses.  She is a graduate of Harvard College and has a MBA from Harvard Business School. Laura is thrilled to be returning to the board of DPLA!


Katherine Maher

Katherine Maher

Katherine Maher is the former CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia). Prior to leading Wikimedia, she was director of advocacy for the digital rights organization Access Now, where she focused on critical issues of freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy. Prior to Access Now, Katherine worked at the World Bank, the National Democratic Institute, and UNICEF, founding and shaping technology and innovation agendas for international development, human rights, and democratic participation. She is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a security fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She is a trustee of the American University of Beirut, a director of the Digital Public Library of America, and has served in advisory and board roles for the Sunlight Foundation, the US Agency for Global Media’s Open Technology Fund, and the ITU’s GIGA connectivity partnership, among others.


Felton Thomas

Director, Cleveland Public Library

Felton Thomas is the director of the Cleveland Public Library. During his tenure, Cleveland Public Library was named a “Top Innovator” by the Urban Libraries Council for its use of technology and data to inform decision making. Thomas has been named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker” and has served as president of the Public Library Association, a member of the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet and president of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Thomas earned a B.A. in psychology from The University of Nevada-Las Vegas and his MLIS from The University of Hawaii, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Managerial Leadership in the Information Profession at Simmons College. His library career began at age 13, when he became the youngest employee in Las Vegas-Clark County Library District history.

Elaine Westbrooks

Vice Provost of University Libraries and University Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Elaine Westbrooks is the vice provost of university libraries and university librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Westbrooks has previously held positions at the University of Pittsburgh, Cornell University, University of Nebraska and University of Michigan. She has presented her research at various conferences, including the American Library Association, the Coalition for Networked Information, Dublin Core, and the Library and Information Technology Association. In 2015, Elaine was the recipient of the Foreign Expert Award from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She has a B.A. in Linguistics and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

Board Alumni

Brian Bannon Chris Bourg Sarah Burnes Cathy CasserlyPaul Courant Robert DarntonLuis HerreraJamie Hollier • Jennifer 8. Lee • Mary MinowJohn Palfrey • Niko Pfund • Amy RyanSiva Vaidhyanathan

Community + Open Board Calls

The Board of Directors holds regular Community + Open Board conference calls. The board will strive to host at least one in-person meeting per year (or video-enabled web conference for those who can’t make it).

The Community + Open Board calls are open to the public, per DPLA’s Open Meetings Guidelines

The next Community + Open Board Call will be held on October 15, 2021 at 2pm ET. 

This DPLA quarterly community meeting will address the opportunities and limitations of machine learning solutions for building more equitable and diverse collections.

Please register here

Open Board Call Schedule


Friday, January 15, 2021
Friday, April 9, 2021 
Friday, June 11, 2021

Friday, October 15, 2021

Notes from Past Board Calls


Tuesday, January 14, 2020 
Tuesday, April 14, 2020  (Please find minutes here.)
Friday, June 26, 2020 (Please find minutes here.)


January 15, 2019


January 9, 2018
April 16, 2018
July 10, 2018


March 15, 2017
June 15, 2017
September 15, 2017

Find notes from previous Board calls in Historical Materials.

Board Responsibilities and Expectations

Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

Board of Directors Policies

DPLA Confidentiality Agreement

DPLA Conflict of Interest Policy

DPLA Bylaws