Story of librarian’s success an open book
by Marguerite Cline
Columnist
August 15, 2013 11:43 PM | 1499 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Susan Hall White was a teen she planned to be a flight attendant. She was too tall. Then she wanted to be a travel agent and go to places she dreamed of going. That did not work out either.

So Susan became a junior high school math teacher. It took less than three years for her to decide that was not for her.

Eventually, she found her perfect place in the world of work — a public library. Now the director of Sequoyah Regional Library System, Susan says it was a fluke how she got the job. She is still in shock about how it happened.

You may say the way Susan and Brad White’s courtship started was something of a fluke, too. They had known one another in high school. Neither liked the other. It was a total surprise when Brad asked Susan for a date. The prospect of free food and a free movie were the reasons she accepted.

Later Susan learned he had not been too excited about going out with her either. He had made a list of girls he would call. Susan’s name was at the bottom. All the other girls had said, “No,” before he got down to her name.

They have been married for 46 years.

After Brad and Susan lived in Cincinnati for two years while he went to mortuary school, they came back to this area.

Soon afterward, Brad’s mother was having her hair done. Bonnie Densmore was at the hairdresser’s shop at the same time. Bonnie knew about a vacancy for someone to work on the bookmobile.

When Susan heard about it, she knew it was something she wanted to do. The library director, Dorothy Hales, lived in the same apartment building where Susan and Brad were living. She paid Ms. Hales a visit. Susan was advised to fill out an application. Soon after that was done she was notified that the job was hers.

Driving the bookmobile was a new experience for Susan. She describes it as a neat job. With the straight gear shift in the floor, she drove the bookmobile on routes all over Gilmer, Pickens and Cherokee counties.

As Susan laughingly says, while she was not a flight attendant or a travel agent, she was still traveling. Instead of going to places like Holland and France, she was going to Ellijay, Waleska, Jasper, Hickory Flat and other equally exciting places.

Louise Chandler was the first person to work on the bookmobile with Susan. Charlotte Mullins was another. Sue Stephens, who was a teen when she was on the bookmobile, is now branch manager of the Woodstock Public Library.

They went down highways and pig trails delivering books to day care centers, nursing homes and shut-ins. The people, especially the shut-ins, were thrilled when the bookmobile arrived.

Restaurants in some of the areas where their route took them were few. They would carry their lunch and park somewhere to eat. One day when they were parked at a church a man came up to the window and was saying something they did not understand — day la longa. Later they figured it out. He was talking about Dahlonega.

On another day they made a turn that took them into a slow-moving line of traffic. That was fine until all of the cars in front of them began turning into a church parking lot.

Then was when they realized they were driving the bookmobile in the midst of a funeral procession.

Eventually, Susan began working inside in the Pickens County Library and worked her way up to being branch manager. Later she was tapped for the top position — director of Sequoyah Regional Libraries.

Now the head administrator for the system’s eight libraries, she can immediately name the greatest need for the system — funding. Like other public facilities, in this down economy the money is not there to meet all the needs of the public.

Of course, the library has more to offer than books, newspapers and magazines. Computers for public use, e-books and audio books are just a few of them.

While Susan said it was a fluke that she got the job, it is not a fluke that she has worked in the library system for 42 years.

We might asked, “Why does she continue working?”

Her answer is simple, “I love it. I never dread going to work. I get up every day looking forward to it.”

That, plus her training, knowledge, professionalism and superb work ethic are only some of the many reasons Susan White rose to the top of her profession.



Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.
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