Vinings Library Branch Manager Susan Kendall is quick to share what she knows about community spirit. Kendall, who is retiring Friday after an illustrious 25-year career with the Cobb County Public Library System, has lots of experience with the people of the southeastern Cobb village.
Kendall got her start as an academic librarian in 1974, but the promise of more flexibility in serving people led her to seek a public library career. She joined Cobb County in the summer of 1990. In 1999, she began serving as Branch Manager at Vinings, where she delights in helping patrons use all of the library resources to learn job related skills, form new social groups and locate information on a range of subjects.
Kendall is an advocate for recognizing the value of libraries. “There isn’t a person anywhere who couldn’t benefit from having a library card,” she said.
Kendall’s pride in the Vinings Library is evident as she points out its features, including the toddler play space, the brainchild of former Vinings Children’s Librarian Shannon Tyner.
“It is particularly important for libraries to be a welcoming spot for children,” Kendall said. “Kids often lose interest in reading because it is a challenge. This makes the library even more important, as it is the librarian’s job to discover what the individual child likes and to find books to spark his imagination, leading the child to improve his reading skills in order to follow his interests.”
Tyner, a Virtual Librarian for Cobb County, underscores Susan Kendall’s commitment to the community: “I was lucky to work with Susan for three years. I learned a lot about being a librarian from her. It’s not just about answering questions – it’s about getting to know your patrons and your community and becoming part of their lives. Susan has always done that well, and I strive to emulate her in that.”
Kendall is the author of Images of America: Vinings, part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series published in 2013. Gathering stories, photographs, and mementos from local residents was a fulfilling project for Kendall, who at the time had only written for professional library publications.
Kendall is vocal about the generosity of Vinings residents, and in particular the gifts to the library from community organizations, including the Vinings Village Civic Group, the Vinings Homeowners Association, Rotary Club of Vining and the Vinings Village Women’s Club. “We have been so fortunate to have such proactive supporters–they have always contacted us first to ask what they can do for the library.” The appreciation is mutual as the Vinings Rotary Club selected Susan Kendall as the Citizen of the Year in 2013, an honor that came as a surprise only to her.
After retiring, Kendall most looks forward to spending time in her garden. While she admits that she will not miss the lengthy commute to the Vinings Library from her home in Powder Springs, don’t count on her disappearing into thin air. Lucky for the library, she is already setting her sights on volunteering for the library in the future.