Mary Kay Emmrich and Jennifer Arrenholz

PHOTO By Caitlin Able

Mary Kay Emmrich (left) and Jennifer Arrenholz (right) are looking forward to the changes that will come for the library system with this transition.

ROSELAWN — The Newton County Public Library (NCPL) system has announced an upcoming transition in leadership in January of 2022.

After 27 years of serving as the director of the NCPL, Mary Kay Emmrich is transferring to a systems specialist role, allowing her assistant director, Jennifer Arrenholz, to assume the position of director. Emmrich will serve as the branch manager of the Roselawn branch, and she will handle several projects while mentoring Arrenholz through the transition.

“This transition will allow Jen to acclimate to her new role while having me on hand if she needs me prior to my planned retirement at the end of 2023,” said Emmrich. “For me, this is going to allow me to focus on branch-level services for our patrons, work on special projects and programs, and continue to partner with local programming partners, state committees, and my professional colleagues.”

The plan for this transition has been in place since the Lake Village library moved into its new building in 2006. A stipulation from the board that was seated at the time was that Emmrich retire when the mortgage for the building was retired.

“We’re making the shift because we have a vacancy at Roselawn. There was no one action that made this happen, but this was a choice that I have talked about for years as a transition into retirement,” said Emmrich. “This is a good transition to give an incoming director the time to adapt to all the different little nooks and crannies of the job while there’s still somebody around that she can get advice from but not directing her.”

A Newton County native, Arrenholz worked as an elementary education teacher prior to working with the NCPL system.

“I appreciate the trust that the board has given me as I step into this new role,” she said. “I’ve worked at Newton County as the assistant director for 13 years, and I’m excited to maintain the welcoming, family-centered atmosphere that Mary Kay and her staff have always created while also exploring new opportunities and partnerships to expand our services to continue meeting our patrons’ needs.”

Both Emmrich and Arrenholz are state-certified librarians, with Emmrich holding a master’s degree in library science and Arrenholz having the equivalent through coursework and experience. All branches of the NCPL system have certified staff in each building as department heads and program presenters, which allows the libraries to receive state and federal funding.

“I’m just excited for the experience and to build off of what Mary Kay and the staff have done for years and to look for new opportunities and partnerships to build on more patron services for our community,” said Arrenholz.

The NCPL system partners with local agencies and programs that bring enrichment and education to the community, such as The Nature Conservancy, the Purdue Extension, and local school systems.

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