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 non-fiction 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 whatever 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.