Meet Susan Cassagne, Executive Director of the Mississippi Library Commission! As the head of the agency, Susan oversees all the various roles at MLC, as well as working with public library directors across the state. Libraries play an important role in the lives of people around Mississippi, but sufficient funding is key. As a staunch advocate of libraries, Susan also spends a significant portion of her time relaying this wisdom to state legislators. Additionally, she works to find a balance in our budget between what we want to do and what we can do. Prior to this, Cassagne, who became Executive Director October 1, 2013, was the director of the Judge George W. Armstrong Library in Natchez for eleven years. She started her library career at Pearl River County Library System as a circulation clerk and has been known to tell Librarianship 101 classes and others, "You never know where you'll end up!" Lovely advice from a lovely director!
Susan holds a Bachelor of Science in General Studies from Louisiana State University and a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was the President of the Mississippi Library Association in 2005 and 2006, staying on an extra year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
When asked her favorite thing about working at the Library Commission, Cassagne was hard pressed to decide on just one. "I so appreciate the staff here at MLC and the various responsibilities they have. I enjoy working with public library directors and hope that I can guide MLC to improve the many services our state's public libraries offer because I see the positive impact libraries have throughout the state. According to a recent study, librarians are among the most trusted of professionals!"
Susan also expanded on her love for libraries and their importance in today's society. "Libraries have a huge role in the lives of their communities. From Mama-Baby lap-sit storytime, to early childhood library programs, meeting students' research needs, providing for adult reading and research, job seekers, genealogy users, senior programs--this list goes on and on! And I've barely mentioned technology or computers! I feel libraries--from school libraries to public libraries to college/university libraries and even to special libraries--reach more people and are used by individuals in every walk of life. Few, if any, other government-supported agencies can say that. Many agencies are geared to a specific group of people, but not public libraries!"
Cassagne is a big fan of reading, saying she reads for enjoyment, entertainment, and relaxation. She throws in the random how-to or nonfiction from time to time to keep things well rounded. Susan swears she can't pick just one favorite book. "That would be like having a favorite child!" She's currently reading through an older David Baldacci series. When she's not busy at the library or reading a great book, Cassagne likes to cook, bake, and travel. She's a long-time active member of the DAR and she loves playing with her three grandchildren and watching them learn and grow.