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A Commitment to Service: Cobb County Librarian Susan Kendall

Vinings Library exterior view with sign
March 15, 2024

As Susan Kendall approached her 40th year working as a librarian, she told a writer she still enjoyed her profession largely “because you just never know who is walking in the door next.”

Susan Kendall served in Cobb County at the Central Library (now known as Switzer Library) in downtown Marietta and Sibley Library on South Cobb Drive before she transferred to the Vinings Library on Paces Ferry Road, the sole Cobb library with an Atlanta address. She retired and eventually moved with her husband Steve to Virginia to be near their family.

Susan Kendall was Branch Manager of Vinings Library for almost two full decades.

Vinings “is a wonderful place to work,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Vinings is a very supportive neighborhood. A lot of the people have lived here a long time and have an idea of what a community should be. The library has a very prominent role in that. For years, we have enjoyed support from the Vinings Rotary Club, the Vinings Woman’s Village Club and the Vinings Village Civic Club.”

Kendall was honored for her support of the community. The Vinings Rotary Club named Kendall its Citizen of the Year in 2013 for her dedication to library service and the community, and for her book, Vinings, a title in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. She said area residents, the Vinings Historic Preservation Society and other historical associations deserved all the credit for the book. “This is a community book,” she told the AJC.

Susan Kendall passed away March 12 surrounded by her family after a long illness.

Kendall’s Cobb library colleagues recall she gave positive energy to the workplace, the community and her family.

“Susan was a team leader who never hesitated to assist when and where needed,” said Cobb Library Director Helen Poyer.  “She was a faithful Book Sale volunteer as well as a volunteer at the annual Georgia Library Association conference. She led book discussions at Presbyterian Village where her parents resided. She cared for her staff, colleagues and community.”

“Susan always brought life to the party,” said South Cobb Region Manager Jo Lahmon, who recalls conversations with Kendall about their grandchildren. “She would brighten up any situation.”

Kendall was influential in the Georgia library world. Her honors also include receiving the Bob Richardson Memorial Award from the Georgia Library Association in 2013 for providing outstanding service to GLA. As an active member of the association, Kendall organized successful events to raise funds for student scholarships.

Virtual Services Librarian Shannon Tyner served as a Youth Services Librarian at Vinings Library with Kendall before transferring to a new role. From Kendall’s words of encouragement for early career librarians to the commitment to relationships Kendall formed across Vinings, Kendall was tireless in bringing people together, Tyner said.

“She was making those connections,” said Tyner of her time working with Kendall and observing her supervisor in action. “She was building community.”

In Loving Memory: Susan Gardes Kendall