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Natchez librarian leaving to lead Mississippi Library Commission

NATCHEZ — Local library director Susan Cassagne knows libraries today are more than just a haven for bookworms.

Libraries have become staples of communities across the nation, providing technology services, income tax help and assistance for residents looking for jobs.

Cassagne, director of the Judge George W. Armstrong Library, knows how important libraries are to their communities, and Cassagne soon intends to take her dedication to local libraries beyond just Natchez.

Cassagne will be leaving the Armstrong library on Oct. 1 to become the executive director of the Mississippi Library Commission, a job the meek librarian says she is surprised she even got.

“I didn’t go into it with any kind of sure confidence; I mean, I hoped, but I went in knowing it could go either way,” she said.

Libraries have been a place, Cassagne said, that have recognized the need to adapt to the changing times.

Some library patrons visit just to curl up and read in a chair or check out a book, but many go to use computers, get tax forms or for help finding a job.

“The needs of the people that walk through our doors changes every day,” Cassagne said. “Trying to make it equal and fair and have the same level of services and the same types of services throughout the state has been a challenge.

“It’s certainly one I hope I’m up to.”

Cassagne has been at the Armstrong library for more than 11 years and said she will be sad to go.

“I’ve put a lot of myself into this library,” she said. “We’ve got a good staff, and we’re providing the quality of services this community certainly deserves.”

Even though her office and possibly an apartment will be in Jackson, Cassage said she would remain a resident of Natchez.

“I’m excited about this opportunity because it really is a wonderful opportunity, but I’m sad to be leaving,” she said. “My heart is here.”

And Cassagne says she will always keep an eye on the Armstrong library.

“I’ve put my heart and soul into this library,” she said. “And just because I’m not going to be sitting in this chair doesn’t mean I’m not going to have my eyes and ears open to what is going on here. I have a vested interest here.”

Cassagne said she hopes to have a new librarian hired by the time she leaves in order for a smooth transition.