Pat White can walk around the small downtown of Saluda and see plenty of people that she recognizes.
She may not know everyone’s names, but she will definitely wave and say ‘hi’ to those who know her. She’s pretty well known by a community filled with avid readers.
In September White celebrated her 20th year of being a volunteer at the Saluda Library.
“When we moved up here, I had retired and I just needed something to do,” White said. “I always liked books so I went and applied to be a volunteer.”
White retired to the area after working at Charlotte’s Presbyterian Medical Center for 37 years. She was the Director of Medical Records there.
Saluda Library Manager Bob McCall quickly met White after he began his job in 2005.
“Not many people are as well-suited to being a library volunteer as Pat White is,” he said. “Her long years of experience in customer service and a love for what libraries represent to the local community make her a one-of-a-kind volunteer. Her so-called ‘retirement’ has been to the benefit of everyone who visits the Saluda Library.”
For part of White’s time as a volunteer she filled in for staff during their absences and was able to run the library herself.
“After we joined Cardinal, only staff were allowed to check out and check in items due to the large, state-wide system of library users,” McCall said. “Now Pat pulls requested materials from the shelves and helps me check things in by sorting things on carts. She also allows me to work behind the scenes during quiet periods by greeting those who walk into the building, determining for me what their needs might be.”
White typically volunteers twice a week at the library, on Tuesday and Friday mornings. She said that she enjoys “seeing the people and meeting new people and helping them get what they need.”
The library isn’t her only volunteer position, as she is an on-call volunteer at the new Saluda Visitor’s Center.
The library was closed for a while during the COVID-19 pandemic and White said she missed being there and that she was happy when volunteers were allowed to help again.
“It was nice to get out and see the people again and just get out of the house,” she said.
“A volunteer is someone who takes the job of helping others very seriously,” McCall said. “The job requires both longevity and the determination to apply oneself to any task that needs to be done. Pat not only possesses both these qualities, but she is also a true friend.”