Library Board of Trustees - Officers



Photo of Dr. Phill JohnsonDr. Phill Johnson In 2018, the Montgomery County Commission appointed Dr. Johnson to the Library Board of Trustees. Dr. Johnson serves as Dean of the Library at Auburn University Montgomery. He earned his BS at Missouri Southern State University, his MSLIS from the University of Illinois, and his Juris Doctorate from the Washburn University School of Law.

Dr. Johnson joined the world of academia after years of owning and operating multiple small businesses. After obtaining his JD and MSLIS, he spent many years in law school administration before eventually becoming Dean of the Library at Auburn University Montgomery. His wife, Cheryl, is the President of Leadership Montgomery and they enjoy travelling the world together.

Although fairly new to Montgomery, Dr. Johnson is very interested in pushing forward with new ways of increasing the use of the public library and ensuring that every citizen is knowledgeable of the many opportunities for life-long learning available in the Montgomery City-County Public Library. Dr. Johnson’s term expires in 2026.

Vice President

Mrs.Theresa Steele Mitchell is a native of Montgomery. She attended Montgomery Public Schools and is a proud graduate of George Washington Carver Senior High School. After high school, Mrs. Mitchell attended Auburn University in Auburn, AL, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary Language Arts Education. Eager to make a difference, she began teaching immediately upon completing her degree. Shortly after starting her teaching career, she enrolled at Stetson University in Florida, where she continued to teach and work with youth in the community. Mrs. Mitchell earned a Master’s in Marital, Couple, & Family Counseling/Therapy from Stetson University. She has over 20 years’ experience in the helping profession.

Mrs. Mitchell engages with her peers and the community by drawing from both her experience as an educator and a psychotherapist by regularly presenting at workshops and conferences, as well as serving on organization boards and committees. She is currently the Executive Director for a treatment center that serves youth and their families and is serving as the President of the Alabama Counseling Association Marriage and Family Counseling Division. Mrs. Mitchell’s passion, insight into youth and family systems, leadership skills, and education experience are assets for the library board. Mrs. Mitchell's was appointed by the Montgomery County Commission. Her term expires in 2024.

TreasurerMr. Adam Muhlendorf

Mr. Adam Muhlendorf founded Longleaf Strategies, a full-service strategic communications and public relations firm, in 2013. Longleaf Strategies primarily works with nonprofits, state agencies, statewide advocacy organizations, and political groups.

Before opening Longleaf Strategies, Mr. Muhlendorf was a vice president at Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique communications firm. Prior to joining Rabinowitz/Dorf, he served as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Robert E. (Bud) Cramer of Alabama. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from The University of Alabama.

Mr. Muhlendorf serves on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery City-County Public Library System and the Alabama Association of Nonprofits. He is a member of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts, the Downtown Business Association, the Business Council of Alabama and PARCA Roundtable. He is also a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, the Southern Public Relations Federation and the Public Relations Society of America. He was a member of the Alabama Leadership Initiative Class of 2013 and Leadership Montgomery’s Torchbearers Class VII.

A native of Florence, Alabama, Mr. Muhlendorf currently lives with his wife and daughter in Montgomery. Adam was appointed by the Montgomery City Council and his term expires 2023. Mr.Adam Muhlendoft appointed term expires in 2023.

SecretaryPhoto of Patina Jones Moss

Ms. Patina Jones Moss was appointed to the Library Board by the Montgomery County Commission. Ms. Moss is a graduate of Montgomery Public Schools where she attended Jefferson Davis High School. She later attended Axia College and earned an Associate Degree in Business Administration; she also earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix in Public Administration. Ms. Moss served as a Library Assistant II for over ten years with the Montgomery City-County Public Library, assigned to the Pintlala Branch Library before leaving to take a position at Alabama State University. She currently serves as an Assessment Specialist in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at ASU. Ms. Moss is an avid reader, and is very involved with the American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN) where she promotes breast cancer awareness and other health related cancer concerns. Her mantra is to encourage women to take a healthy approach to their lives by attending to their health needs, annually.

Ms. Moss is an active & engaged member of the Mount Gillard Missionary Baptist Church and the Beta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ms. Moss’s term expires in 6/1/2027.

Library Board of Trustees - Board members

Photo of Ms. Betsy Atkins

Ms. Betsy Atkins was appointed to the Library Board by the Montgomery County Commission.  She is a native of Opp, Alabama but grew up in Montgomery.  Twelve years ago she and her family moved to Pike Road and began her community engagement as the town officially became The Town of Pike Road. 

Mrs. Atkins is a 1994 graduate of Auburn University Montgomery and is employed with Abbott Laboratories as a Senior Professional Sales Representative. Over the past 12 years she has represented Abbott throughout Central Alabama. During this time she received numerous sales awards and currently serves as the District Business Analyst for southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. 

Mrs. Atkins is a member of the Children's Leadership Council, the Junior League of Montgomery and has been a long-time supporter of the March of Dimes. As a citizen she provides support to the library board in the area of business management and community engagement.  She is married and is the mother of two children. Mrs. Atkin’s term on the library board expires in 2025. 

Dr. Katie R. Bell

Dr. Katie R. Bell Photo of Dr. Katie R. Bellwas appointed to the Library Board of Trustees by the Montgomery City Council. She has served the board as secretary, treasurer, vice president and currently the president. Dr. Bell is a retired educator in the field of library education. She has held the position of school librarian in Birmingham, AL and as the Coordinator of Library Educational Media at Alabama State University. She holds an undergraduate degree from Alabama State University and her PhD from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Bell brings to the Board over 40 years of knowledge and experience in libraries. Dr. Bell is a quintessential community volunteer and can be found delivering meals to the homebound, volunteering with the Optimists and the ASU Hornets.

Dr. Bell has served on several local community boards and committees and more recently served on the LSTA Advisory Board of the Alabama Public Library Service. She is the second longest serving member of the Library Board. Dr. Bell is an actively engaged member of Beulah Baptist Church and the Beta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her appointed term expires in 2024.

Ms. Cassandra E. Brown

Ms. Cassandra E. Brown Photo of Cassandra E. Brownis a native of Montgomery. She received her education through the Montgomery Public School System graduating from Jefferson Davis High School in 1981. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Masters of Business Administration from Troy State University - Montgomery.

She has been employed with SABIC (formerly GE Plastics) for thirty-two years where she currently serves as a Quality Systems Specialist. Ms. Brown currently serves as the President of the Montgomery (AL) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Brown has served on or is serving on several community boards/committees where she has focused her life on lifting people up. She has served as President of Big Brothers/Big Sisters Advisory Board; The Planning Committee for Making Strides for the American Cancer Society of Montgomery; Co-Chaired the 45th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, Montgomery Committee; the Woodcrest Community Block Leader and has been a SABIC Community Volunteer since 1986. She is a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church (Pike Road). She brings to the library board analytical skills, leadership, and planning skills. Ms. Brown was appointed by the Montgomery City Council and her term expires in 2024. 

Ms. ShaKenya Calhoun

Ms. ShaKenya Calhoun Photo of ShaKenya Calhounis presently the General Manager of HarCal, Inc. and Calhoun & Associates, Inc (C&A). HarCal, Inc. is a partnership with her father, Gregory Calhoun and T.V. & Talk Show Celebrity Host Steve Harvey formed in 2008. This company consists of the only U.S.A. latex dipping glove factory located in Eufaula, AL, EASY Bacon Meat Company and a grooming line of men soap, shampoo/conditioner and after shave lotions named BILT. C&A is a consulting firm that assists Fortune Five Hundred Companies in Minority Diversity Crisis and Business Development started in 1992. C&A also represents a host of celebrities and talents throughout the USA. Ms. Calhoun is also the Vice President of National Benefit Solutions, Inc. where she is a licensed insurance agent offering supplemental benefits to Fortune Five Hundred Companies.

Ms. Calhoun is a graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems (CIS). She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Troy State University - Montgomery. Ms. Calhoun has or is serving on several community boards/committees that make a huge difference in the growth and development of the Montgomery community. She is also a member of the Montgomery (AL) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Calhoun brings to the board an understanding of the role of technology in the lives of everyday people. She understands and supports the public library in its efforts to develop, design and deploy technology solutions to library users. Ms. Calhoun was appointed by the Montgomery City Council and her term expires in 9/21/2025.

Dr. Janice Franklin

Dr. Janice R. Franklin is Dean of Library and Learning Resources at Alabama State University, a tenured Professor and Project Director for the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University.  Franklin is co-founder of the HBCU Library Alliance, a consortium of libraries representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  She has led digitization initiatives for the organization and is an advocate for preserving the cultural legacy of HBCUs. 

Dr. Franklin’s professional recognitions include: The “Mover and Shaker” designation from Library Journal, recognizing her work to shape the future of libraries; the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Alabama Library Association; the “Woman of Achievement Award" from the Montgomery Advertiser; and she was elected to the OCLC’s (Online Computer Library Center) international Member’s Council, representing the SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network, now LYRASIS) region.  She was also honored as a recipient of the “AACRL Sue O. Medina Significant contribution Award” presented by the Alabama Chapter of ACRL.  She has served on numerous professional boards that currently include the Alabama Virtual Library, the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries and the Montgomery City/County Public Library Board.

Franklin received a prestigious NEH Challenge grant to establish and endow the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University and received “Special Congressional Recognition” for her work with the Center.  Her professional publications include a book entitled Database Ownership and Copyright Issues Among Automated Library Networks and book chapters in Achieving Diversity, “The HBCU Library Alliance and SOLINET: Partners in inclusion,” and Creating Community:  Life and Learning at Montgomery’s Black University, “Genesis of the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture.”    She successfully managed a 25 million dollar expansion of the Levi Watkins Learning Center at ASU and has received commendations for implementing her vision of “a cultural learning place.”   In her capacity as Project Manager for the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture, she successfully led the effort to establish the National Park Service’s Montgomery Interpretive Center for the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March on the campus of ASU.

Dr. Franklin’s previous appointments include serving as Assistant Professor in Library Media at ASU, Adjunct Professor at the University of Alabama, Visiting Staff Member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Library Director for the School of Library and Information Science at Texas Woman’s University, where she received the Ph.D. degree and Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Franklin was appointed by the Montgomery County Commission. Her term expires 6/1/2026.

Mr. Joseph Trimble

Mr. Joseph Trimble has been on the Board since 2018. A native of Chicago, Illinois, he has been living and serving in the Montgomery area since 1981. He teaches history at Trenholm State Community College, where he has worked since 2008, beginning as a library clerk.

Mr. Trimble is generous with his time, constantly helping all over the River Region. He has served as director of the Fatherhood Initiative for Jubilee Community Center, and as a FathersWorks case manager at Trenholm State Technical College. He has also served his community as Abstinence Education Coordinator for Lowndes County and has been a consultant to the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture since 2002.

As a consultant to the National Center, Mr. Trimble founded, developed and implemented the Black Film Festival, which has been held every August for the last seventeen years. 

Mr. Trimble is as a published author of children's books, including The Fisherman, The Farmboy and the Watermelon Patch, Marty Makes a Difference and Marty and the Million Man March. He is also a popular professional storyteller, who has performed at schools and other venues in and outside Alabama and even the country and was a founding member of the Alabama Storytelling Association. In 2014, he was awarded a fellowship by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, which allowed him to trace the origins of African-American stories to places such as the Gullah Islands and South Africa. He is married to Dr. Jacqueline Trimble and they have three children, Joshua, Joseph David II, and Jasmine Trimble Pugh (Elijah). Mr. Trimble was appointed by the Mongomery County Commission. His term expires 6/1/2027.

Mr. Ronald A. Simmons

Mr. Ronald A. Simmons has more than twenty-five years of progressively increased responsibility and experience in executive level leadership, budgetary and business-to-business sales management, sport event sales, convention/meeting sales, hospitality/destination sales, federal and state governmental procurement and RFP analysis over a successful career. As Chief Officer, Destination and Community Development with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, he leads the Montgomery Chamber’s convention and visitor bureau team now called Experience Montgomery.

Ron brings to the Library a keen sense of community, resource sharing and engagement and a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.  Ron and his daughter, Erin, are the founders of D.A.D.S. (Daddy and Daughter Saturday) program presented the second Saturday of each month by the Children’s Department.  The program was a result of Ron’s desire to engage fathers to take an active role in the lives of their daughters through reading.  The program is in its seventh year and routinely has approximately 20 or more fathers who consistently attend and plan programs for the group.  Refreshments are provided by Dream Land BBQ. The programs cover topics from community policing, meeting the Mayor, reading of stories by fathers and the library staff to other leaders in the Montgomery community.  Mr. Simmons was appointed by the Montgomery City Council and his term expires 9/21/23.

Dr. Sharon Ross

Dr. Sharon Ross  was born and raised in Montgomery where she attended Montgomery Public Schools.

Dr. Sharon Ross serves as President and CEO of Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, a family owned business established in 1918 that has served the River Region community for over a century. As President of Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, Dr. Sharon Ross is the fourth generation to lead her family business, continuing a long legacy. Her position breaks new ground too, as she’s the first woman to head the company. 


Dr. Ross is an accomplished educator with two Master of Education degrees from Alabama State University, a Doctorate of Education from The University of Alabama, and Certification in Leadership from Auburn University at Montgomery. Her professional career spans more than 15 years with both Montgomery and Autauga County Schools. Prior to joining the family business, Dr. Ross assisted students, as a secondary counselor, at Prattville High School with Autauga County School system. 


She is active in the community by working with various organizations. She currently serves as a board member of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery Humane Society and Girls on The Run South Central Alabama.


Dr. Ross is an active member of Saint John AME church and the Beta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Dr. Ross was appointed by the Montgomery City Council. Her term expires 9/21/2026.

Ms. Janel Bell Haynes

Mrs. Janel Bell Haynes is a twenty-year, marketing and communications veteran with unique skills in project management, sales, and fundraising. A higher education administrator for more than ten years she has also held senior level management positions in the government, corporate and private sectors. Her most recent industry experience includes strategic communications and media planning for an international non-profit organization. She holds a BS in Marketing from Southern University, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Akron, an EdD in Leadership, Policy, and Law from Alabama State University and a Postdoctoral Certification in marketing and management from the University of Florida. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Marketing and chair for the Business Administration Department in the Percy J. Vaughn, Jr. College of Business at Alabama State University. She is a published author of several academic journals and teaching materials and speaks on communications, marketing and entrepreneurship. She is married to LTC Bryan K. Haynes, (US Army retired) and they have three children Porsche, Tia and Bryan.

Mrs. Haynes was appointed by the Montgomery County Commission in 2021 and her term expires 6/1/2025.

Ms. Phyllis Harvey-Hall

Ms. Phyllis Harvey-Hall    Bio Forthcoming.

Director of Cultural Affairs

Director of Cultural Affairs
Dr. Gabriel Morley 

Dr. Gabriel Morley is the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Mongomery. The Cultural Affairs Department includes City Events, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Montgomery City-County Public Library, the Armory Learning Arts Center, and MGM Film Works. Dr. Morley earned three degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi, including a master’s degree in library science and a doctorate in adult education. He also has an MBA from Western Governors University.  


For the last two decades, Dr. Morley has led some of the largest public libraries in the country in Atlanta and New Orleans. He has also led libraries in Mississippi and Tennessee, where he served as library director for Lincoln Memorial University. Prior to working in libraries, Dr. Morley was a daily newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in Mississippi and Louisiana.     


Dr. Morley’s research focuses on informal learning, and information seeking behaviors, in an effort to understand how and why individuals attach value to information. He is currently at work on a book of essays about the library’s relevance to the republic.

Library Director

Library Director
Mrs. Zella’Ques Holmes
has over 23 years of experience with the Montgomery City-County Public Library system (MCCPL). In December 1997, she began working as a Library Page. She received a promotion to Library Assistant in October 1999. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, she was promoted to Librarian I. As a Librarian I, she implemented story times and other programs. In November 2003, she was promoted to Librarian II, Head of Circulation. As Head of Circulation, she co-chaired and sat on different library policy committees such as Standard of Service, Circulation, Collection Development, and Long Range Planning. She planned and implemented yearly staff workshops that focused on updates and changes to the library’s automation system.

In September 2019, she was promoted to Librarian IV, Head Librarian of the Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library.  As Head Librarian, Mrs. Holmes implemented Saturday programming at Morgan and quarterly Morgan staff meetings. It was under her leadership that Morgan embraced a strong virtual programming presence during the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 8, 2021, she was named the Assistant Library Director. Mrs. Holmes chaired and presented the 2021 Alabama Library Association Virtual Conference and presented a Staff Development Training for the entire staff. On July 9, 2021, she was named the Interim Library Director for MCCPL. On December 24,2021 Mrs. Holmes' status changed to Library Director for MCCPL.

Mrs. Holmes is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. She attended and is a graduate of Sidney Lanier High School. Mrs. Holmes received her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety from Auburn University Montgomery and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is married to Marcus Holmes, a Math Teacher, and Coach at Holtville Middle School. They have three children Jazmine, Miykayah, and Maurice. In her spare time, she enjoys supporting her children’s extracurricular activities, reading, and providing community service and social projects with her sorority Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Psi Lambda Zeta Chapter.

Our Mission

The mission of the Montgomery City-County Public Library System is to make readily available to all residents of Montgomery County access to materials, information, and services to meet their personal, educational, cultural, technological, and occupational needs.

Our Vision

The Montgomery City-County Public Library will enhance the quality of life for Montgomery County citizens by serving as central Alabama's premier repository for a broad-based and comprehensive collection of books and data and its most accessible site for Internet and digital services. The library also aims to respond programmatically to the personal interests, educational imperatives, and research needs of Montgomery County citizens.