First published in the June 30 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
The Pasadena Public Library Foundation and Pasadena Community Foundation announce the appointment of two PPLF board members: Robert Karatsu and Ann Russo.
PPLF board members gathered in early June to reconnect in person following more than two years of Zoom meetings. They were joined by acting director of the Pasadena Public Library Tim McDonald, as well as representatives from the Friends of the Pasadena Public Library, the Library Commission and other library stakeholders.
Karatsu currently serves as the chair of the Pasadena Library Commission after serving as a commissioner since 2017. In June 2022, he was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame at the California Library Association’s annual conference in Sacramento, honoring his years of extensive service and leadership in the library community.
Karatsu was a participant in the first Stanford University’s Institute on 21st Century Librarianship in 2000. In 2007, he became the library director of the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, which, under his leadership, won the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal in 2013, the highest honor that the federal government can bestow on an American museum or library. In 2014, he was elected as the President of the California Library Association and served in that role throughout 2015. In 2016, he acted as the interim Pasadena Public Library director for several months.
Russo is a native of New York City, where she lived until she was 10 years old. She spent her teen years in New Canaan, Connecticut. She returned to New York City to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Russo’s appreciation for architecture and architectural history serve her well in her role as a member of the Pasadena Public Library Foundation. She lives with her family in a historic Pasadena property, which the family is restoring. Russo is delighted to join PPLF in its mission to support capital projects at the Central Library.
PPLF and PCF formed a partnership in 2011 to continue the PPLF’s mission to restore, preserve and maintain the architecturally and historically significant Central Library. PCF manages the Library Foundation’s endowment as one of its 450 funds, which, along with donations from the community, provides grant money to fund special library projects.
In May 2021, the city of Pasadena ordered the closure of Pasadena Central Library for seismic retrofitting. Despite this setback, the PPLF board remains committed to protecting and preserving the Central Library while also strengthening the city’s branch libraries during the Central Branch’s closure.