LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Mark Mellang, the new Jefferson County Public Library director, said he’s eager to help guide the program into a new era married with new technology. (Staff photo by Brett Eppley/beppley@madisoncourier.com)
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Mark Mellang, the new Jefferson County Public Library director, said he’s eager to help guide the program into a new era married with new technology. (Staff photo by Brett Eppley/beppley@madisoncourier.com)

Only on the job a week, Mark Mellang is still adjusting to his new surroundings. But, as the new director of the Jefferson County Public Library, he’s eager to guide the program into a new age.

Mellang, who lives in Rising Sun, previously worked at the Aurora Public Library where he started in 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Earlham College and earned his Masters of Library Science from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“You have to love books. My parents both were huge readers. We always had books. We always went to the library every week, if not more. I started reading as soon as I could,” he said.

“That was just a natural door into the library world.”

Mellang took over as library director on May 18 from interim director Virgie Dowell. The search for a new director started in January after the program’s former director resigned.

Mellang was chosen by the library board of trustees and also went through a panel interview with the staff. While Mellang said it was nice to know that the staff had his back in suggesting him for the position, the board had the final choice in his hiring.

Board president Kathy Rosenberg said that Mellang is community oriented and seemed like a good choice for Jefferson County.

“He’s a very sincere person who’s very excited about this next step in his professional career,” she said.

Library assistant Karen Kruger said that in the short week that Mellang had been in the building things have been “fabulous.”

“A breath of fresh air,” she said. “He’s very pleasant. And he’s willing to work the front desk.”

When it comes to specifics of his plans for the library, the new director said he’s still getting acquainted with the library’s current way of doing things before he makes any changes.

“I have a vision of what a library is going to be in the next 5, 10, 20 years. We’ll always have books, we’ll always be that kind of stereotypical quiet building where people can come and read and check books out, but technology is just moving so quickly that the role of the library is changing,” he said.

Plans to move to Madison in the next 6 to 12 months will allow Mellang to become more in tune with what Jefferson County’s needs are, he said.

“At my previous library, we had more patrons use the internet than we had check out books, and even five years ago that wasn’t the case. So I’ll always want to stay grounded in the traditional mission of a library. You know, I see us becoming more and more technical in the next 5, 10, 15 years,” he said.

“So I hope to guide us in the direction that our patrons and our town and county needs.”