2012 Eureka Fellow: Margaret Hatanaka
I am Margaret Hatanaka, Children’s Services Librarian for the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library. Growing up in a low income family in a rural area, my parents taught me the value of the public library by taking me and my five siblings frequently to the local public library. As a children’s librarian, I want to instill the same joy I felt as a child going to the library into children who visit the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library. I think it’s important for libraries to reach children when they are infants and foster their love of reading, learning, playing, and spending time with their family in an enriching environment.
After I received my MLIS from San Jose State University, I focused on adult services and worked for the City of Monterey Park and the City of Monrovia. In 2007 I embarked on a totally different career path and became a children’s librarian at the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library which really changed my life. Former colleagues were surprised when I told them I was doing baby story times because these activities were so far afield from my previous work experiences. Working with children fulfills my need to make a difference by creating a healthier individual, family unit and society.
I enjoy the variety of responsibilities that I have at my very dynamic and busy library. I coordinate large-scale programs, manage collections, train staff, create partnerships, schedule staff, help families with their library needs, and conduct outreach visits to schools. I am also currently involved in some exciting grant-funded projects including the LSTA-funded Play and Learn Islands™ project which encourages play in the public library and the LSTA-funded Staff Innovation Fund where I received a grant to implement outreach to lower income families in the community. There is never a dull moment at my job! I also serve on the City of Rancho Cucamonga’s Employee Peer Group and the California Library Association’s PRExcellence Committee.
A few of my co-workers who participated in Eureka said it was in invaluable experience. I think this is a fantastic learning experience! I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know my colleagues and mentors. I want to learn more about leadership skills and challenge my abilities.
On a personal note, I love travelling! Some of the memorable places I’ve been to and wish to visit again are Venice, Easter Island, Egypt, and Bora Bora. My favorite weekend getaway spots are Cambria and Las Vegas. I enjoy reading thrillers, watching reality TV, going out to eat, playing poker, spending time with my family, buying shoes, and tending my small garden.