White celebrates five-year mark

Published 10:37 pm Monday, August 17, 2009

William White leaned back in his chair, took a deep breath and spoke slowly and deliberately.

“When I think about my job and how much I love what I do, the feeling is always one of gratitude,” he said. “I know how fortunate I am to love what I do.”

Bunches of balloons and the smiling faces of an appreciative staff welcomed White to work Monday morning, which marked White’s fifth year as director of the Troy Public Library.

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He came to the Troy Public Library from Spartanburg, S.C. and eagerly anticipated the opportunity to see his ideas for a public library to fruition.

“It was an opportunity to lead a library and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said. “What I found was the most amazing staff that any director could have. This staff made me believe in the possibility of fate. I couldn’t have picked a staff, under any circumstances, that would have worked together as well as the staff of the Troy Public Library.”

White said each staff member brings something different and remarkable to the library.

“Our staff is our biggest asset,” he said. “With them, anything that I can imagine, we can do. Whatever we contemplate, we try and we usually succeed. The staff here is incredible.”

The library’s collection is its second strongest asset.

“A lot of time and energy goes into our collection,” he said. “The collection is the backbone of any library. A library can have its café and its muffins but, when in comes down to it, it’s the collection that is any library’s backbone.

“And, then it’s our patrons and the support that we receive from our city officials. Without either of those, we could not do the things that we do – the expanding collections, the multiple formats and the summer programming.”

White was very complimentary of the support the TPL receives from the city officials.

“The city has given me the freedom to do the things that we need to do to move the library ahead and that is most important,” he said. “Our city officials understand the value of a public library to the Troy community.”

The Troy Public Library has an amazing 17,000 active patrons and that’s more than people who live in Troy.

“We have people with Troy Public Library cards that live in Dothan, Montgomery, Elba, Enterprise, Ozark and many surrounding communities,” White said.

“They come here to check out books, audio lectures, CDs, and, of course to do genealogical research. “

White said since 2006, people from 34 states have come to the TPL specifically to do genealogical research.

“They have come from as far away as California and Washington and Maine,” he said. “We would like to be able to say that we’ve had people from every state use the resources of our library and, one day, we will.”

White said he and his staff are extremely proud of the TPL, but they will not rest on their laurels.

“Every day when I come to work, my goal is to exceed my expectations,” he said.

“I always want to do more than what is expected of me. I love what I do. Sometimes, I work a 60-hour week and, after the doors are closed, I stay around to look at the books. This is an amazing place, and I am so grateful to be here.