Sierra Madre Public Library Director Toni Buckner has announced her retirement after 34 years with the City of Sierra Madre. Toni shepherded the library from the era of the card catalog to online databases and brought web access and computer literacy to library services for use as a regular service to library patrons.
Toni has worked continuously to find much needed funding for the library resulting in several grant awards that included building improvements, the establishment of the jointly owned archives collection and the library technology grant which created the City’s web services and allowed the library to offer more online access to the library’s collection and major online databases. When asked which project she was most proud of she promptly replied, “The Friends’ Garden. It’s where design, function and beauty came together through the joint efforts of volunteers, community organizations and hardworking city employees. Before the Library opens and throughout the day there are people reading books, using the Library’s Wi-Fi or taking in the view of the mountains.”
While working as a Library Assistant, Toni attended USC and graduated in 1980 with a Masters in Library Science. She then became the children’s librarian until moving to the directorship in 1985. She remarked, “I often say, I have the best job in town. I get to work with people who use and work in libraries, who are motivated and believe they have something positive to contribute. Learning for librarians and library users is a lifelong endeavor.” She credits her success during her career to the many talented people she has worked with over the years, particularly the Library staff, the Board of Trustees, and the many volunteers of the Friends of the Sierra Madre Library. She also is grateful for the support of her husband Bob and daughter Lily.
City Manager Elaine Aguilar stated, “Sierra Madre’s Library has benefited greatly with Toni’s leadership. When one stops to think about the technological changes alone — Library Director Toni Buckner oversaw a significant number of changes during her 30 years with Sierra Madre. Toni was responsible for getting the City on the World Wide Web, she brought computers into the library, she created new programs to keep people coming to the library during a time when most other libraries were experiencing decreasing visits. Toni’s dedication to the library and the Sierra Madre community has been truly astonishing, and I hope that she continues to share her talents with us.”
September 26, 2011 is Toni’s tentative retirement date, giving her time to troubleshoot problems after launching the new City website, finish raising money for the Children’s Library remodel, and to support the transition to the next director.