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CLA Elections 2017 - Margaret Hatanaka
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Margaret Hatanaka, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library


Growing up in a low-income family in a rural area, my parents taught me the value of the library by taking me and my five siblings frequently to our local public library. Motivated by my childhood memories of discovering new worlds through books and viewing filmstrips of animated dinosaurs with a little handheld viewer that they kept at the library’s children’s desk, I knew librarianship was my calling. I wanted to impart that feeling of excitement and wonder that I felt as a child to new library users and create lifelong learners. I’ve been a circulation clerk, children’s librarian and adult librarian for the cities of Upland, Monterey Park, Monrovia, and Rancho Cucamonga. I received my MLIS from San Jose State University, am a 2012 Eureka Leadership Institute Fellow and a member of CLA, ALA, PLA.

In 2015, after eight years as a children’s librarian, I shifted my focus and became the Adult Services Supervisor for the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library. I’ve been fortunate to receive incredible mentorship by amazing library leaders and have memorable leadership opportunities. I’ve been involved in unique collaborative projects with libraries across the state, including a Design Thinking project with colleagues from San Jose Public Library and Yolo County Library which culminated in a 2016 PLA presentation in a room which could hold over 1000 people. I’ve contributed to innovative LSTA grant funded projects which have shaped the culture of the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library and made statewide impact, such as the Play and Learn Islands™ and Staff Innovation Fund.

In my spare time, some of the things I enjoy are playing board games with friends, family get-togethers, finding ways to amuse my two cats, watching bad reality TV with my husband, planning weekend trips to Las Vegas and Cambria, and tending my small garden.


Candidate Statement

The opportunity to serve as a CLA Board Member is an honor and I will work hard to inspire people to support the mission of the California Library Association. CLA provides the California library community with unique and valuable leadership, educational, and networking opportunities. During the past few years, I’ve recognized that CLA leaders made conscious efforts to reinvent itself by improving member benefits, creating new networking events, and risking new conference programming. I’m excited at contributing to this momentum of change by sharing ideas, working hard to improve member benefits and collaborating with CLA leadership on projects which will enhance librarianship. I have been a long-time supporter of CLA and served as the 2012-2014 CLA PRExcellence Committee Chairperson and Interest Group Leader.

I’ve worked in public libraries for 30 years and my passion for public service hasn’t wavered. I hope that I can instill that same feeling dedication and support for libraries to existing and new members of CLA. I envision all libraries as inclusive and safe community spaces and support efforts to increase special needs programming and mental health awareness. I believe that 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. 



  1. How do you define leadership?
    Leadership is a positive quality which inspires people to perform at their very best. People who are effective leaders are forward thinking, respectful of the past and strive towards improvements for their organizations. Great leaders also invest time towards fostering professional development in others and surround themselves with good people in order to achieve a goal or vision.

  2.  Why are you interested in this position?
    As a CLA Board Member At Large, I would be able to help the California Library Association with its mission to develop, promote and improve “library services, librarianship and the library community.” Serving as a Board Member At-Large would be my opportunity to give back to the California public library community and be an advocate for this profession which I love.


  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    My personal leadership style is leading by example. I believe staff respect and trust me and value my feedback and encouragement. I think it’s important to foster skills in others, listen to their wants and needs and give honest feedback. I am a very collaborative person and enjoy working on a team.

  4.  What strengths would you bring to the position?
    I am a hardworking person who isn’t afraid to work hard to get a job done. I have a great deal of integrity – if I say I will do something, I will do whatever it takes to get it done. I have a positive attitude and a great sense of humor which helps me as well as my co-workers when a task seems overwhelming.

  5.  What experience do you bring to this position?
    I’ve worked in public libraries for almost 30 years and have a wide breadth of experience. After receiving my MLIS from San Jose State University, I focused on Adult Services at extremely different public libraries. In 2007, I changed my focus and became a Children’s Librarian at the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, recipient of the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. In 2015, after eight years of children’s librarianship, I decided to challenge myself and shift out of Children’s Services and became the Adult Services Supervisor for Rancho Cucamonga. My years of experience at Rancho Cucamonga brought me unique opportunities, such as participating in the Eureka Leadership program, and working on multiple LSTA grants such as the Play and Learn Islands™, Digital Literacy Evaluation and Staff Innovation Fund which have had local, regional and national impact.

    During my career, I’ve presented at Library Board Meetings and several conferences:
     - 2016 Public Library Association Annual Conference, “Design Thinking at Your Library: Try, Try Again”, Denver, CO
     - 2014 CLA annual conference program, “PR Excellence Awards”, Oakland, CA
     - 2014 Design Thinking Workshops, CLA Annual Conference, Oakland, CA
     - 2014 Design Thinking Workshops, San Jose Public Library Mini-Con
     - 2011 CLA Annual Conference, “Family Fun Programs”, Pasadena, CA
     - 2011 Inland Library System Summer Reading Program workshop, Fontana, CA

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    One of the issues which I’ve been working on is finding tools for educating staff on mental illness. In order to help our staff with addressing patrons with mental illness, I’ve continued to support the work of two librarians who became Mental Health First Aid trainers by scheduling workshops for library staff and other city departments.

    I am also working on several grant projects which may provide new programming opportunities for people with special needs, senior population or millennials.  As our population ages, and the usage of public libraries by millennials increases (as stated in the Pew Research Report in June 2017) finding resources to improve programs or services geared to those demographics is something that I’ll incorporate into our library’s strategic services plan.

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    Simon Sinek and Jim Collins

  8.  Who are the regional and statewide stakeholder’s libraries needing to be in communication with?
     - Legislators
     - State Librarian and State Library
     - California Library Association
     - Inland Library System
     - County nonprofit organizations

  9.  What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
     - Funding
     - Digital divide
     - Homelessness and mental illness

    Board Member At-Large

  10. Describe your experience serving on Association committees and/or interest groups.
    In 2012 – 2014, I served as the CLA PR Excellence Chairperson and PR and Marketing Interest Group Leader. During this time, submissions for PR Excellence Awards greatly increased, a PR Excellence program was made part of the annual conference lineup, and I hosted a CLA Spring Fling program which generated funding for CLA. 

    In 2015, I assisted with preparation of the CLA Annual Conference by stuffing conference envelopes and badges for conference attendees, helped with logistics and technology needs for the Night Track program, staffed the membership booth and donated to the conference’s silent auction.

  11.  Describe your network of connections with library professionals and library stakeholders in California.
     - Rancho Cucamonga Library Board, Foundation and Friends of the Library – regularly attend Library Board meetings and Foundation fundraisers
     - State Library - worked with State Library on several grants – Play and Learn Islands™, Digital Literacy Evaluation Project, Staff Innovation Fund
     - Eureka Leadership Fellow, 2012
     - Attended Brazelton Touchpoints in Libraries Institute with Suzanne Flint
     - Early Learning with Families - staffed “Play and Learning at the Library” exhibit for Early Learning with Families pre-conferences
     - Whittier Public Library – Staff Development Day partnerships
     - Member of Asian/Pacific Americans Library Association
     - Member of Inland Library System Adult Services Interest Group