Pasadena Public Library Director Jan Sanders to Retire

Published : Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | 4:13 PM

Pasadena Public Library announced that Library Director, Jan Sanders, will retire this summer. She will be in the office until Aug. 26 and will retire soon thereafter. Sanders’ decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable career of 45 years in library leadership throughout the United States, 11 of them in Pasadena. Her path to Pasadena wound through Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Washington before bringing her to the Pasadena Public Library in 2005. Throughout her career she has served as children’s librarian, bookmobile librarian, branch manager, community college librarian, and library construction supervisor before first becoming a director in 1990.

“Jan Sanders has done a remarkable job establishing the Pasadena public library system as one of, if not the, premier library system in the state,” said Steve Mermell, Interim Pasadena City Manager. “Through her leadership Jan has proven that libraries can remain vibrant and relevant in the digital age and an ongoing source of creativity. I wish Jan all the best for her well-deserved retirement.”

“It was a privilege to work with Jan. Her humor and ability to help everyone have a good time are surpassed only by her leadership. Pasadena’s libraries excel on every level because of Jan Sanders. She will be missed.” said Cynthia Kurtz, former Pasadena City Manager.

“Never have I worked with a finer staff or community, or one so dedicated to the work of the library,” Sanders said. “During my tenure in Pasadena, we have seen libraries undergo monumental changes. We no longer serve as a simple depository for books and information. We have expanded to be the hub of community life, the center for conversation and ideas, and the spot for creation to occur.

I look forward to staying connected with PPL as a faithful library user. I’m not leaving town, and I certainly won’t stop using this library. I can’t wait to see what’s next!”

The City of Pasadena’s Human Resources Department will conduct the process to choose Sanders’ successor.

During Sanders tenure as Director— from 2005 through 2016 — Pasadena Public Library:

• Passed the extension of the Pasadena Public Library parcel tax in 2008 by an 80.4% vote, keeping Pasadena’s libraries financially solid until 2023.

• Implemented eBooks via the “cloud” (2012), the first library in the state of California to do so, making searching and downloading titles much, much easier for patrons.

• Completed the broadband connection of all 10 library sites providing free high-performance, high bandwidth, broadband, networking service to all library customers.

• Hosted a variety of events celebrating “130 Years of Reading” in 2014, ending with a wildly-successful community fair, with nearly 2,000 people on the Central Library lawn!

• Hosted the annual One City, One Story community read program, now in its 14th year.

• Transformed the use of space at Central Library, opening the Internet Commons in 2009, Teen Central in 2011, Reading Wing, Law and Media Rooms in 2014 and in 2015 a children’s play area and the Studio on 4th as a production/creation space.

• Transformed the libraries outdoor spaces into attractive, inviting drought tolerant gardens at Central Library and the Hastings, Hill Avenue, Lamanda Park, San Rafael and Santa Catalina Branches. Created a Butterfly Garden at Hastings Branch Library.

• Assisted the Library Foundation in presenting a highly successful fundraising gala to pay for Central Library’s south façade restoration.

• Founded the Pasadena Digital History Collaborative in partnership with the Pasadena Museum of History and Pasadena City College.

• Assisted community members in forming Friends of the Library Associates groups at La Pintoresca, Linda Vista, Hastings Ranch and San Rafael Branches.

• Established the Non-Profit Resource Center at La Pintoresca Branch Library through the generous donation of the Flintridge Center’s Philanthropy Resource Library.

• Established a Homeschool Collection at Hastings Branch Library.

• Launched a Community Seed Lending Library and the Pasadena Grows Garden Club at Hill Avenue Branch Library.

• Developed a series of Sensory Storytime, Art and Book Club programs for children and youth on the autism spectrum.

• Enhanced storytime offerings to include storytimes in Armenian, English, Mandarin and Spanish.

• Enhanced the library’s community engagement with collaborations and partnership with hundreds of local organizations.

• Implemented an annual all-staff training day, allowing for learning and reconnection for staff.

• Hosted the California Library Association Annual Conference twice with Pasadena Library staff presenting best-practice programs.

Pasadena Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and the joy of reading. Established in 1884, the library is a department of the City of Pasadena.

For more information, contact Catherine Hany, (626) 744-4207 or