Marlena E. White Wins Friends Grant to ALA

United for Libraries has awarded the 2019 United for Libraries/ThriftBooks Friend Conference Grant to Marlena E. White, current Director of the Friends of the Lexington Main Library in Lexington, S.C. and President of the Friends of South Carolina Libraries.

White will receive $850 plus full conference registration to attend the 2019 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. A formal presentation to the grant winner will be made at the conference at the “Gala Author Tea” on Monday, June 24, 2 to 4 p.m.

In her role as Director of the Friends, White coordinated efforts between staff and the Friends to promote funding and awareness for Lexington Main Library. A proud accomplishment has been the creation of an annual Father Daughter Dance fundraiser, now in its 13th year. The event has sold out the last three years with an attendance of 1,200 fathers and daughters. Its popularity has raised funds but also recognition for the Friends, a valuable commodity in a growing community like Lexington, S.C.

As part of her ongoing effort to find new avenues for raising funds and awareness, she requested and received Board approval to be a vendor at the 2018 SCLA/SELA Conference in Greenville, S.C. Reading and literary-themed items from the Friends Corner Gift Shop were available for purchase to conference attendees, netting a profit of over $1,000.

To connect with other library supporters across South Carolina, White joined the Friends of South Carolina Libraries (FOSCL) and began attending annual meetings. In 2015 she joined the Board, volunteering on the Finance Committee and Meeting Committee. In April 2017 she was asked to serve the remaining term for the then President and officially offered her service for a full two-year term as President at the Annual Meeting on April 3, 2019.

White’s long-term personal goals are to continue to serve as Director of the Friends of the Lexington Main Library and complete her term as President of the Friends of South Carolina Libraries, which ends in April 2021.

“I also hope to pursue further education by enrolling in USC Palmetto College and applying my two associates degrees towards a BA in Organizational Leadership,” says White.

When notified of her winning status, White replied, “I am honored to receive the 2019 United for Libraries/Thriftbooks Friends Conference Grant. I am thrilled to be representing the Friends of the Lexington Main Library and the Friends of South Carolina State Libraries.”

White has worked with the Friends for 15 years and believes the services offered by libraries are the right of all citizens and every community. Active in community service, she has previously volunteered for the Girl Scouts and Girls on the Run. She lives in Lexington, S.C. with her husband and two children.