Pasadena Public Library Director Jan Sanders Retires

Published : Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 7:14 PM

Jan Sanders spoke to the Pasadena Rotary Club on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, just two days before will she will retire as Pasadena's Director of Libraries and Information Services.

Jan Sanders, at the helm of Pasadena’s many great libraries and the treasures they encompass since she became the Director of Libraries and Information Services in 2005, is retiring this Friday after 11 years of service to the community.

The Pasadena Rotary Club honored Sanders Wednesday, recognizing her expertise and service in a career spanning four and a half decades. On Thursday evening, Sanders will be guest of honor at an invitation-only farewell event. Then on Friday, the public is welcomed at the main Library branch at 285 East Walnut Street to wish her well in person.

“I leave this position with bittersweet feelings but I know that I am leaving it in good hands. I consider this position to being the capstone of my career,” Sanders told the Rotarians on Wednesday.

Staying relevant and interesting to 21st century youth was a main mission during Sanders’ tenure. Are public libraries facing a demise that so many people believe inevitable due to the necessity of internet access? Sanders says, “No way.”

“Reading to me is as basic as breathing. The truth of the matter is that the internet is not worth questioning if you can’t read what’s on it,” explained Sanders.

“I believe that I have been able to take the Pasadena Library to a place that it has not been before. We’ve done a lot with technology, forward thinking and tried to push the staff to strive for something just beyond their grasp and grow,” said Sanders.

Under her tenure the Pasadena Public Libraries host 72 story time sessions each month, which are conducted in English, Spanish, Armenian, Mandarin and also one that caters to autistic children.

“We’ve been changing formats for how we do things, over and over again. I do think there is some effect on people’s reading skills, but if you come to a story time or a reading program I think you’ll be reassured about the state of reading, particularly with our young people,” explained Sanders.

“Now it’s time for someone else to step up who has new and better ideas and a better understanding of how we can become engaged in our community even more effectively and lead Pasadena to its next step,” said Sanders.

Robert Karatsu will serve as Pasadena’s Interim Library Director

Recently retired Rancho Cucamonga Public Library Director and Pasadena native Robert Karatsu will serve as Pasadena’s Interim Library Director until a permanent Director is hired, according to Catherine Hany of the Pasadena Public Library.

Under Karatsu’s leadership, Rancho Cucamonga won the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Services and is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a U.S. library or museum. Karats is a three-term mentor for the Eureka Leadership Institute, was named the 2014 “Local Hero” for the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers L.A. and served as the 2015 President of the California Library Association.

“The City’s Human Resources Department initiated a nationwide recruitment in July to identify the best qualified candidate to serve as Pasadena’s next Director of Libraries and Information Services,” said Hany.

The department is preparing to interview the top group of candidates in early September with an appointment anticipated later this fall.

Sanders’ last day in the office is Friday with an official last day on Sept. 9.

The Central Library close early on Thursday for at 3 p.m. for a private celebration and will reopen Friday at 9:00 a.m. with regular hours. All other Pasadena Public Library branches will be open regular hours on Thursday