Linda McDowell began working with the Anderson County Library System in 2007 after retiring from SC DNR after 27 years. She has been the manager of the Westside Community Center Library branch since 2009. The Westside Library is a special place for Lin as an alumnus of the old Westside High school, which is now the Westside Community Center.
What brought you to the Anderson County Library System?
Well, I had retired from working with SC DNR for almost 27 years. I had a really beautiful office there, with big windows overlooking the lake. But after retiring, I really wanted to do something else. I’m an extrovert, and I like always be doing something. Growing up, I was always reading. Kids would call me “bookworm,” and my mother would tell me, “Go and play with the other kids” instead of reading, but I never thought I’d actually be here working for the library.
You have a family connection to the library, don’t you?
Yes, my grandmother, Mrs. Wilhelmina Jackson-Snipes was the Librarian of the Greeley branch library, back when the libraries were segregated. She was the 2nd Black librarian of the Greeley branch of Anderson County Library, in fact. I remember going to the Greeley library when she was there. She was always encouraging promoting the summer reading program. I remember getting little gold stars for reading, then getting ice cream and ride on a fire truck at the end of summer reading.
She worked there from 1951 until it closed in 1970, then at the Main Library until she retired in 1975. She was the epitome of a lady, always wearing gloves, a hat, and her pearls. She was so proud of her work as a librarian. She passed away at the age of 99 and a half, just a year before I began working for the library.
What do you like about the Westside Library?
I really enjoy being at this library. It means so much more to me because I walked down these halls for 6 years, when this was the Westside High School. Dr. Thompson, the Executive Director of the Westside Community Center, was my 9th grade English teacher! It means a lot that this place is still a part of my life; it’s like it’s home.
What I like to tell people, though, is that this isn’t “my library;” this is “your library.” It’s a place for everybody. I’ve gotten to know a lot of my patrons, what they like to read. You get this bond, and you can just about guess what they might like to read next.
I’m proud to be working here. I want everyone to feel welcome, to find what they want, and to feel like this is their library. If my patrons are happy, then I’m happy.
What are your favorite books to read?
I read a little bit of everything. Well, besides Science Fiction or Paranormal fiction. I read a lot of Christian fiction and Romance, especially any of the Hallmark types. I’m currently reading Elin Hilderbrand’s What Happens in Paradise. I love seaside books, books that are set on the coast of South Carolina or Georgia. I like Susan Mallory, Dorothea Benton Frank, though sometimes I do read history, poetry, and I always read the newspaper. I try not to limit myself to one thing.
When I read, though, I have to get really interested in it. Sometimes I’ll go to the end of the book and read just the ending. I don’t mind the spoilers, I like the buildup and seeing how the story gets to that ending.
You can find Lin at the Westside Community Center Library, ready to help you find a good book to read or use the Library’s resources. As a member of the Westside High School Alumni Association and local historian, she will be happy to share the history of the old high school, the Community Center, and memories of the Greeley branch library!
Filed under Meet Our Staff