For the love of read­ing

Head chil­dren’s li­brar­ian loves do­ing her job

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rachel Oswald

As head of Chil­dren Ser­vices at the New­ton County Li­brary, Carol Du­rusau, is in her el­e­ment and lov­ing it.

A life­long reader who is hope­lessly in love with chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, Du­rusau de­scribes the cir­cum­stances which led to her cur­rent po­si­tion as head of the bustling Chil­dren Ser­vices de­part­ment as a happy chain of events.

“It all kind of fell to­gether re­ally nicely for me,” Du­rusau said.

Born and raised in Jena, La., Du­rusau moved with her hus­band and daugh­ter to Cony­ers some 15 years ago. As a par­ent tak­ing her young daugh­ter to the li­brary, Du­rusau said she re-dis­cov­ered her love of chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture.

“I re­mem­ber think­ing what a won­der­ful way to make a liv­ing,” Du­rusau said.

In 1992 when a friend in­formed her of an open­ing in the chil­dren’s de­part­ment of the Nancy Guinn Me­mo­rial Li­brary in Cony­ers, Du­rusau im­me­di­ately ap­plied for the po­si­tion and was sub­se­quently hired.

Af­ter work­ing at the Nancy Guinn Li­brary for four years, Du­rusau switched li­braries to work at the ref­er­ence desk at Clay­ton County’s head­quar­ters li­brary in Jones­boro.

How­ever she soon be­gan to miss work­ing with chil­dren.

“I re­ally wanted to get back to the Chil­dren’s Desk,” Du­rusau said. “Those are the books I en­joy.

So Du­rusau en­rolled in a dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram of­fered by the Univer­sity of South Carolina to earn an M. A. in Li­brary Sci­ences.

M. A. in hand, Du­rusau left Jones­boro af­ter two years when she found em­ploy­ment with the New­ton County Li­brary where she has been hap­pily en­sconced with her beloved chil­dren’s books for the last nine years.

Speak­ing of her de­part­ment, Du­rusau said it was be­cause of the sup­port of the com­mu­nity that the county’s li­brary has such a large and var­ied chil­dren’s sec­tion to­day which reg­u­larly hosts a sto­ry­telling hour with per­for­mances by lo­cal artists.

While speak­ing fondly of the black and red col­ored pic­ture books that she grew up read­ing, Du­rusau said their il­lus­tra­tions can’t com­pare with the bril­liantly col­ored pic­ture books which the pub­lish­ing houses are pro­duc­ing to­day.

“ Kids lit­er­a­ture is more broad- rang­ing to­day than it was,” Du­rusau said. “ What we have now is just so much more en­ter­tain­ing.”

In ad­di­tion, Du­rusau said there have been great strides made in the writ­ing of non­fic­tion books geared to­wards chil­dren.

Du­rusau said she is op­ti­mistic for the fu­ture of New­ton County be­cause of some­thing she heard at a re­cent Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence when the key­note speaker of the con­fer­ence said that the fu­ture of Amer­ica lies in the chil­dren that go to the li­brary.

Know­ing just how many chil­dren make use of the New­ton County li­brary on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, Du­rusau said she was re­as­sured to hear that.

“A lot of the re­search says they’re ( chil­dren) read­ing less, but I don’t re­ally see that in this li­brary or in this town,” Du­rusau said. “ We have a re­ally strong group of kids who read.”

As a li­brar­ian, Du­rusau said she works hard to bring in as many ma­te­ri­als from as many dif­fer­ent view points as pos­si­ble to the li­brary.

“ The li­brary has of­ten been re­ferred to as a ‘ mar­ket­place for ideas,’” Du­rusau said. “ That’s our pur­pose. To be that place where peo­ple can find out what- ever they need to know.”

As for her­self, Du­rusau said she loves read­ing the old clas­sics along with books by south­ern au­thors such as William Faulkner, Clyd Edger­ton, Bar­bara King­solver and Flan­nery O’Con­nor.

A Harry Pot­ter fan as well, Du­rusau ad­vises the books by Bri­tish chil­dren’s fan­tasy nov­el­ist Diana Wynne Jones for those Pot­ter fans still han­ker­ing for more mag­i­cal ex­ploits.

While Du­rusau said she has a hard time nam­ing one fa­vorite chil­dren’s book, she did rec­om­mend sev­eral chil­dren’s au­thors: E. B. White, Lois Lowry and Roald Dahl.

“ It’s hard to pick out one thing that’s over ev­ery­thing,” Du­rusau said.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

On the job: New­ton County Pub­lic Li­brary Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Man­ager Carol Du­rusau pauses among the books in the Chil­dren’s Li­brary Fri­day af­ter­noon.

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