Interview with Jefferson County Public Library Director Mark Mellang

Southwest Regional Coordinator Amber Painter recently had the opportunity to Mellang - Library Photointerview Jefferson County Public Library Director Mark Mellang. The following is an excerpt from their conversation.

AP: Are you from the Area?

MM: I’m not from Jefferson County, but I grew up in Southeastern Indiana, specifically Rising Sun. After graduating from IUPUI and applying for library jobs throughout the Midwest, the best offer I received was from the Aurora Public Library, which is the town just north of Rising Sun. After getting married and starting a family, I had deep roots in the area. The chance to become a director and remain in Southeast Indiana was a dream come true.

AP: What inspired you to work in libraries?

MM: I don’t remember a time that libraries weren’t part of my life. As a child my family made regular trips for books, and my mother, sister, and I all worked at our local public library at various times. Although, if we’re talking about inspiration…It was my freshman year of high school and we were assigned our first real research paper. I wasn’t happy with the quality of information at the school library, so I asked my public library for help. How quickly and competently she found the information was impressive, and stuck with me. That’s probably what planted the seed of becoming a librarian.

AP: What is your favorite thing about working for your library?

MM: Hands down it’s the staff. I’ve only been working here since May, so I’m still the new guy, but everyone’s been so welcoming. I also enjoy introducing people to new books they might not have considered. Who doesn’t like helping patrons find their new favorite book or author?

AP: What is your favorite book?

MM: There’s no way I can answer this question. Depending on the time of my life – heck, time of day – that answer can vary widely. However, being a librarian means I get asked this questions fairly often, and I always say Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

AP: If you could have dinner with any three famous people in recorded history, who would they be and why?

MM: I’d like to put Beethoven, Miles Davis, and John Williams in a room, sit back, and see what happens.

AP: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

MM: Photography, especially of my three year old daughter, Elise. Honestly, she’s like a character from a British children’s book – always getting into predicaments, learning new stuff, and surprising me every day.

This blog post was written by Amber Painter, Southwest Regional Coordinator. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email