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Librarian & Youth Mental Health Advocate

Headshot of Deborah

My passion for library services and young adult literature began when I got my first job at an independent toy and book shop. After working there for five years, I decided to pursue a career as a high school English teacher. When that did not pan out, I applied for a part-time youth services assistant, and the rest is history. 

I have an extensive background in Youth Services, but what spurred my interest in Teen Services was when I started working with teens beyond books; I wanted to make a difference in their lives simply by being someone to talk to and confide in. I have mentored several young adults I have known since they were teens, which showed me that teens appreciate adults who take an interest in them by providing guidance and support. When I had the opportunity to work with another extraordinary group of teens and a colleague as passionate as I am, I didn't realize how profound this experience would be.

This book wouldn't have been possible without the drive, dedication, and compassion conveyed by teens who want to support their peers in crisis while educating and advocating for themselves. I appreciate your interest in supporting teens and I hope this book inspires you to create an initiative that allows the opportunity to support and guide teens in a direction to better themselves and their community. 


Deborah K. Takahashi

Experienced  Librarian, author, and teen mental health advocate adept at conceptualizing and implementing programs and services that meet the educational and recreational needs of the greater community.




Master Degree in Library Information Science, 2011

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA


Bachelor’s of Art in English, 2006

English Education

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Pomona, CA




YALSA Writing Award, Issued by the Young Adult Library Services Association, 2021


The YALSA Writing Award recognizes the contribution of YALSA members who have written an article or blog post for the association’s journals or blogs that is timely, original, and relevant to YALSA members, and well-written. Each year, YALSA’s blog managers and journal editors select a shortlist of up to five articles or posts that meet award criteria to submit to the YALSA Writing Award Jury


CLA Edna Yelland Scholarship

CLA Edna Yelland Scholarship, Issued by California Library Association, 2010

The CLA Scholarship for Minority Students in Memory of Edna Yelland encourages and supports ethnic minority students in the attainment of a graduate degree in library or information studies and encourages commitment to the improvement of library services to ethnic minority communities.


ALA Spectrum ScholarALA Spectrum Scholar, Issued by American Library Association, 2008


The Spectrum Scholarship Program aims at recruiting applicants and awarding scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students for graduate programs in library and information studies. Its mission is to improve service at the local level through the development of a representative workforce that reflects the communities served by all libraries in the new millennium. Since 1997, the ALA has awarded a total of 564 Spectrum Scholarships. Nearly 70 percent of past Spectrum Scholars remain active in the ALA three years after graduation. 



Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library 2018 - Present 


Conduct community outreach and collaborate with city departments and local community organizations to bring new and innovative services to the Library. 

Collaborate with the City of Monterey to lead, implement, and monitor the City of Monterey Park Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership (HOME) COVID-19 grant programs to provide rental, small business, and utility assistance to residents and small business owners. 

Apply for grants to provide Alzheimer/Dementia kits, mental health programs, and low-impact exercise programs for seniors.

Assist in preparing and monitoring the Division budget.

Develop and negotiate contracts with vendors and oversee the execution process. 

Train, supervise, and evaluate staff which include librarians, paraprofessional library staff, clerical support staff, volunteers, and student workers.

Write reports to provide updates and information about Division programs to the Library Board of Trustees and prepare Agenda reports for the City Council.

Classify and catalog materials and database management including career development and consumer health resources.

Recommend collection development policies and resources.

Oversee the development of programs and services for adults and teens including 3D printing services, Home Delivery Service, and the Junior Friends volunteer program. 

Collaborate with city departments to support and acknowledge programs and services that benefit the residents of the community. 

Train other staff and the general public in the use of the Internet and other online databases.

Provide professional reference and advisory services to readers.


Pasadena Public Library 2014 - 2019


Assist patrons with reference questions, printing services, and computer assistance.

Co-manage two branches with the Senior Librarian and assist with staff management including handling internal issues and working with staff to develop specific skills for better performance.

Lead staff training to teach staff how to use the library’s Wii U gaming system, library ILS, and library maker boxes.

Create, implement, and advertise programs for children, teens, and adults.

Implement and launch a teen mental health initiative with the youth services librarian. 

Serve on staff committees such as the Pasadena Public Library Employee Advisory team, summer reading, and early learning workgroups.

Maintain branch library's social media accounts and contribute to library-wide social media efforts.

Maintain a working relationship with local community groups such as the Linda Vistans 

Revived Linda Vista Library Associates Group at the Linda Vista Branch Library

Worked alongside library administration to renovate the Linda Vista Branch Library

Lead class visits and community outreach for both branch libraries

Maintain the library’s 40+ book kits and the Linda Vista Library Decorative Arts Collection

Writing grants to support teen mental health initiative

Work with library administration to open purchase orders for vendors and suppliers.



Alhambra Civic Center Library 2008 - 2014

Teen Library Assistant

Coordinate and assist Teen Librarian with services and programs

Teen Advisory Board and Anime Club Coordinator

Creating flyers and handouts for Reader’s Advisory and outreach

Conduct Family Storytime for children ages 5 & up

Designed and implemented Early Literacy StoryTimes for children birth-5 years old

Assist the Children’s Librarian with programming and services

Assist patrons at the Teen, Children’s, and Adult Reference Desk with questions, printing services, how to use electronic resources, and Reader’s Advisory

Update and maintain the Alhambra Civic Center Library Website; created a brand new website with IT Manager

Copy catalog Children’s, Young Adult, Fiction, and Nonfiction materials


Glendora Public Library  2005 - 2008

Youth Library Aide IV

Coordinate, supervise, and schedule more than 100 volunteers a year.

Collection Development: Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, and Reference; Children’s audiovisual and Children’s Spanish/ Foreign Language.

 Programming such as Pirates Day, Dr. Seuss’ Birthday, Teen Read Week, and Teen Tech Week, and assisting the Youth Services Librarian with programming and outreach for the Children’s and Young Adult Summer Reading programs.

Creating bulletin boards for Children and teen areas.



Author, Serving Teens with Mental Illness in the Library: A Practical Guide, Libraries Unlimited, 2019

Author, Libraries as Refuge for Marginalized Teens, YALS, 2019

Member, CA Library Leadership Institute, California State Library, 2016  

Advisor, Mental Health Initiative, California State Library, 2016



Proficient in MS Office Suite and Canva



Speak and write in Spanish

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