Aiea’s Own Is Top Librarian For 2014
It was no small task for branch manager Baron Baroza and his staff to move Aiea Public Library to its new location last summer.
“We had to basically pack up the entire collection — 60,000 books, 8,000 audio-visual items — and get them transported up the hill, a little under half a mile to the new location,” said Baroza, who credits his coworkers for the “smooth” transition.
But his role in coordinating that big move was a major reason why Baroza recently was named 2014 Public Librarian of the Year by Friends of the Library of Hawaii and Native Books Na Mea Hawaii.
“I was shocked,” admitted the Kalihi resident. “I’ve only been in the library system for a little over seven years now, and I’ve enjoyed it the whole time, but I never really expected anything like that.”
Baroza got his start in radio broadcasting, and he may be known best as the producer of the Perry & Price Show on KSSK — where he worked for 23 years.
After Clear Channel Communications bought the station in 2000, he realized it was time for a change, and started studying for his master’s degree in library science.
He may work in a quieter environment now, but he’s very happy where he is. The library’s new home at 99-374 Pohai Place is nestled in a residential area (and has much more parking than its old location), and Baroza has been seeing an increase in foot traffic.
More accessibility is always a good thing, in Baroza’s eyes.
Most of the library’s users, he says, are children or the elderly, who often need additional assistance to learn to use the library’s resources.
In the future, he intends to push for more digital literacy programs at the library to meet that need.
But he scoffs at the notion that the library as an institution is outdated.
“Our role has changed,” he said. “A lot of people think that, with the advent of the Internet, libraries are possibly obsolete.
“Well, if you only look at libraries as a repository for books and that’s all we are, then yeah, we might as well be obsolete. But we’re a lot more than that.”
Baroza points out that the library is both an information trove (for databases, audiobooks and other texts, both physical and digital) and a gathering place, where people attend all kinds of programs, clubs and performances, and meet others — all for free.
“We’re a community hub. In that role, we’re really not going to disappear,” Baroza said.
Since Baroza is a librarian, he does have a book recommendation for the public.
He just finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
“It’s about tidying up, keeping your house and workspace clean and tidy,” he said. “It’s almost philosophical in a way about how it approaches cleaning up, and it talks about how it’s like a state of mind, rather than, you know, just the act of cleaning your house.”
For more information on Aiea Public Library’s services, call 483-7333.