Newton Public Library director Marianne Eichelberger has announced that she will retire at the end of November, concluding over 31 years of service to Newton Public Library and the Newton community.


Eichelberger’s library career started while she was still in high school, when she worked as an assistant to the Frederic Remington School District librarian. After graduating from Bethel College with a degree in history, Eichelberger attended Emporia State University and earned a master’s degree in library science.


She returned to North Newton, working for three years as a librarian at Bethel College’s Mennonite Library and Archives, then for the next 11 years as director of Hesston Public Library, before assuming the directorship of Newton Public Library. While she was at Hesston, the library was recognized as one of 50 best small libraries in the US.


"I don’t know if the Library Board or I was the ‘fool’ to begin working at Newton Public Library on April 1, 1989," Eichelberger said. "I have certainly appreciated the continual learning experiences I have had working at NPL, most of them enjoyable, but also a variety of challenges. They did not have classes in library school about responding to various flooding issues inside NPL or most of the roof blowing off.


"There has been tremendous technology changes that have impacted how many library services and resources are now available 24/7. I still remember having 12 of the local Motherboard computer group standing around the one NPL computer screen to get a first view of the internet in action."


"What I have especially enjoyed, and will definitely miss, is learning to know and work with creative staff members, supportive Library Board members, NPL patrons, and the many people I have worked with in the local community and the library world."


Eichelberger has been involved with various community organizations including serving on the Newton Area Chamber board and a variety of committees, Harvey County Resource Council, Newton USD 373 careers advisory groups and technology task force, and Newton Kiwanis Club. She is a member of the Mirror, Inc. board and served as chair. She was selected as a Newton Area Woman of the Year in 2010.


In the library field, she served as Kansas Library Association Secretary, Automation Roundtable President, a member of Kansas Library Catalog - Information Network of Kansas Advisory Committee, and served on various South Central Kansas Library System committees.


The public is invited to join Newton Public Library’s staff and board of trustees from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 12 for an after-hours, drive-by retirement celebration in Marianne’s honor.


Participants may line up in the parking lot at 7th and Poplar, just north of Santa Fe Middle School, at 4:30 p.m., or drive by the north side of the library on 7th Street before 5:30 p.m. People are also welcome to park and congratulate Marianne outdoors, socially distanced and wearing a mask