In 2003, I applied for a job as the Director of Youth Services at the Grande Prairie Public library. In many ways, it was a dream job. This was my library as a little girl! I remember when they were building it, how excited we were. I remember working on a giant latch hook rug in the children's room and looking for books with my friend, Sonal.
On October 6, 2003 Susan K. Roberts, the Library Director, called to offer me the job. I was thrilled and accepted immediately.
For the next two years, I was very happy there. (I left after Science Boy and I moved to the City and I found work closer to our new home.) The staff of that library was amazing. (And one of those staff members became my beloved Science Boy!) The camaraderie and love shared there was extended to patrons. The circulation department at the library remains the best I have encountered anywhere in the world. All of that was nutured under Susan's leadership.
Susan was a wonderful Director, especially in the way she was always looking forward to what possibilities might be explored. She always supported any new ideas I (or anyone else) wanted to try out, whether that meant remaining open for 24-hours on the first anniversary of 9-11, staying open to register voters until midnight on the last day to regster before the 2004 Presidential elections, or writing a huge, mulit-library grant for a Library-Palooza! celebration. (We didn't get that grant, but Susan still went ahead a few years later and put on her own Library-Palooza program.)
Susan was also a whiz at writing grants and seeking out new opportunities for library support and funding. She truly loved the communities we served and did her best to provide the very best for them.
Personally, Susan could be a lot of fun. She loved her staff, her family, her pets. She had a grea capacity for empathy and listened when you spoke. She had an opinion on everything. She told great stories and argued passionaltely against Bush and the war. (She may be the only person I knew who hated him more than I do and we spent a lot of time agreeing on why he sucks.)
Susan died this morning after a short battle with lung cancer. She was only 60 years old. She had only recently decided to leave Grande Prairie after many, many years as the Director after being offered a poition in a library that would offer new challenges.
Susan touched the lives of all who knew her. We shall all be a bit poorer for her passing.
Edited to add: The Library will be closed on Sunday in memory of Susan.