Hawaii State Librarian Richard Burns received his second consecutive “Exceptional” rating from the state Board of Education during his annual job performance evaluation in November. The “Exceptional” rank is the highest rating possible for a state librarian. In addition, Burns received commendations from then-Governor Neil Abercrombie and a resolution from the Board for his 30 years of dedicated service.
“I am extremely grateful to Chairman Horner and the Board of Education for their support of the Hawaii State Public Library System and myself,” Burns said. “This Performance Review rating is a reflection on the efforts of all our dedicated staff members across the state who have made our libraries essential anchor institutions in their communities and have dramatically increased the value Hawaii’s Public Libraries provide for the people of Hawaii.”
Burns said the Library System has transformed over the last several years, laying a solid foundation for continuing progress and successes. “The future for the Hawaii State Public Library System is very bright,” Burns said.
Under Burns, the HSPLS partnered with the University of Hawaii and the State Department of Education during 2010-2013 to complete two federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grants totaling $36 million, providing free wireless Internet access in all 50 public libraries; new public access computers; new hardware and software; and high-speed fiber optic connectivity for public libraries, public schools and community college campuses.
The Library System also partnered with Microsoft to become the only statewide public library system in the world to offer free access to the Microsoft IT Academy and Digital Literacy Program which provides online digital literacy and advanced technology training.
In addition, through the HSPLS’ Mobile Netbook program, patrons can now borrow a netbook loaded with Microsoft Office 2010 software and mobile Internet connectivity for a 3-week loan period at 37 branches. To date, a total of 260 netbooks circulated 1,599 times.
“The invaluable commitment and abilities of individuals like Mr. Burns enables the HSPLS to provide Hawaii’s residents with access to education, information, programs and services,” said Board of Education Chairman Don Horner.
In recent years, HSPLS has increased access, collections, programs and services, and has upgraded and improved its public access technology resources. HSPLS’ significant technology implementations, upgrades and enhancements led directly to the Library System earning the State of Hawaii’s first Excellence in Technology Award in October 2012, and a State Technology Modernization Award from the Office of Information Management and Technology in 2013 for implementing a computer training program and rollout of its Mobile Netbook Loan Program.
HSPLS’ noteworthy facility accomplishments focused on building new energy efficient libraries outfitted with environmentally–friendly technologies including Grand Openings of three libraries: North Kohala Public Library (2010), Manoa Public Library (2012), and the Aiea Public Library (in July 2014), all of which earned the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.
Burns, who also received an “Exceptional” rating from the BOE in 2013, is retiring at the end of December 2014.
Photo of Richard Burns courtesy of Hawaii State Public Library System