Rowan library manager named to top spot in Catawba County

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 25, 2013

SALISBURY — Suzanne White, public services manager at Rowan Public Library, has been hired as Catawba County’s library director.
White will start her new job on Feb. 18 after working in the local library system for nearly 20 years.
“I’m very excited, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to working in such a progressive community,” she said Thursday. “They have a fantastic library system and a really active county government, and they collaborate really well in the community there.”
According to a Catawba County press release, as library director White will oversee the operation of the county’s library system, which includes seven branches , 30 employees and a current annual budget of nearly $2.2 million.
“I look forward to contributing positive leadership for the library and the county, and to fostering collaboration, within the library, county government, and the community as a whole; and to facilitating innovative and responsive library services that will empower and enrich the lives of citizens,” she said in an email to the Post.
White said she’s making the move because she’s ready for a new challenge and more leadership opportunities. The increase in pay will also help her daughter attend college.
White and her husband, Rex, have one daughter, Janssen, who is a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. They currently live in Salisbury, but they will be moving soon to Catawba County.
White began working at the Rowan Public Library in 1994 as an information services supervisor. She then became an information technology supervisor before entering her current position as a public services manager in 2007.
Rowan Public Library Director Jeff Hall said he wishes he could keep White here to continue her excellent work.
“I just know she’ll do a great job for Catawba County, because she did a great job here,” Hall said.
White was instrumental in bringing public Internet access to the library in 1995 or 1996, he said. She also helped upgrade the library’s automation system from minicomputers to PCs.
More recently, Hall said, White helped lead the charge to make e-books and Kindles available through the library.
“It’s a huge hit to Rowan County for her to leave – a huge loss,” Hall said. “It’s going to be incredibly hard to find someone with the skills she possesses to replace her.”
Last week, Hall asked the county personnel board to upgrade White’s title to assistant library director — with a corresponding salary increase — because it would more closely match her responsibilities. Commissioners on the board said they would rather wait until budget time. Now that White is leaving, Hall said he still plans to ask for that position because the library needs someone in that role.
White has managed comprehensive library programs, services and personnel at the Salisbury and east branches of the Rowan Public Library for more than seven years.
She also has led the library’s customer service and public relations efforts, had oversight of certain budgets, worked with the director on strategic planning and served as acting director in Hall’s absence. White also helped develop library programs and services and prepare the overall departmental budget.
“It’s been great,” White said in a telephone interview. “It’s a wonderful library system. Everybody is so dedicated and has worked so hard to provide quality services for the county. Phil Barton and then Jeff Hall have been fantastic leaders.”
She said she appreciates that the two directors involved their senior managers, including White, in the development and management of their services, budgets, technology and other areas.
“I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to be involved in managing all aspects of library services,” she said.
She said she’ll also miss working with the dedicated staff at each library location, because “it’s been like having an extended family.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.