2012 Eureka Mentor: Robert Karatsu
I wish I could say that coming out of the womb I knew I was destined to be a librarian but this would not be true. I’m not even sure what inspired me to attend library school (it was so long ago…) but I must admit that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and that I really love what I do, and have had some of the greatest library jobs ever.
My first professional job out of library school (and this is probably the only thing remotely interesting about me) was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji. Between the beaches and coconut trees and learning how to speak Hindi and Fijian, I even found time revolutionize library services in the South Pacific. (Not…) After returning to the United States, I worked as a research librarian for the Western Costume Company in Hollywood, doing research for costume designers on what people wore for different movies and TV shows. (One nice side benefit of this job was meeting a number of celebrities who liked to do their own research as they “got into character” as they called it.)
I eventually found my niche in public libraries and fast forward to today, where my current day job (which also entails quite a few nights) is as the director of the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library. I also taught an ancient art (“reference”) for 10 years in the San Jose State School of Library and Information Sciences where I loved the interaction with students, many of whom are colleagues today.
Other than the fact that I am once again dreading the “mentor moment”, I am looking forward to our time at Eureka. I am fortunate to have three Eureka Fellows on staff (with two more in this year’s class) and I can see how attending the institute not only made them more confident librarians and leaders, but also made a positive change in their lives. (Not to mention that *I* personally got so much of Eureka last year that I was thrilled to be asked to be a mentor once again!)
When not working, I live happily in Pasadena with my wife and two high-maintenance cats. Hobbies include playing guitar in a loud rock band with some fellow City employees, watching NASCAR, and cooking. (My real goal in life is to either become the next Iron Chef or at least be a guest judge where the secret ingredient is something like Kobe beef or brussel sprouts.)