Steve Fjeldsted, the city’s Director of Library, Arts, and Culture, announced his retirement during the June 13 meeting of the Library Board of Trustees in the Library Conference Room.
Among those present were members of the Board; Ellen Torres, Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library president; and Diana Mahmud, city council liaison to the Board.
In a letter to Board President David Uwins, Fjeldsted said, “. . . it has been my pleasure and honor to serve as the City Librarian/Director of Library, Arts and Culture in South Pasadena for more than a dozen years.”
His career in public libraries has spanned 40 years, he said in the letter. The majority of that time, he said, he served as a library director in Northern, Central and Southern California.
Fjeldsted explained in his letter that “a big influencer on my decision to retire at this time is a serious family health concern.” Because of this, he said in the letter, he has requested that no farewell party be organized.
Fjeldsted is widely known for holding hundreds of free concerts, film showings, performances, author nights and art exhibits in the city. He has collaborated with other organizations and obtained grants to cover costs. He publicized library events through an extensive network, and his programs were routinely covered by the local media.
Councilmember Mahmud said at the meeting that Fjeldsted had brought the library to an entirely new level.
“Our library has always been revered by residents of South Pasadena,” she said, “but through the outstanding programs he’s organized, we’ve come to be known regionally.” At the June 19 city council meeting, Mahmud requested that the city plant a tree in his honor on library grounds.
“The library will never succeed in finding anyone like Steve who puts on adult programs like he does,” Friends President Torres said after the meeting.
Former two-time Board President and current member Brendan Durrett, who has spent a total of 10 years on the Board, commented on Fjeldsted’s vast influence. “Over the years,” Durrett said in an email after the meeting, “I’ve seen Steve keep a steady hand on library operations while also growing the library’s presence as a community and arts center.”
Fjeldsted said his last day at work will be June 27. True to form, he said that he is working on coordinating a public comedy event for that evening and plans to attend.
For more information regarding Steve Fjeldsted check out, Steve Fjeldsted Director of Library, Arts & Culture from 2006-2019, Some Accomplishments.