Debra Futa, executive director of the St. Joe County Public Library (SJCPL), has announced her retirement effective March 31, 2022. Futa has served as the Library’s Executive Director since 2015.
With a career spanning 42 years, Futa has worked at SJCPL since 1979 and has served in many roles during her time at the Library. She was the assistant manager at River Park (1979-1982) and Francis (1982-1985) Branches before moving to the Main Library where she served as the Systems Coordinator of Automated Services (1985-1987), Financial Services Administrator (1987-1996) and Assistant Director (1996-2015). In 2015, she was appointed the Library’s Executive Director.
Futa has left a distinct mark on the library system and has been involved in every major building and renovation project taken at the Library for the past 25 years. This includes the multiple expansion and renovation projects at Main Library, construction of the North Liberty, Lakeville, Francis, German, and Centre Branches, and the renovation and expansion of the LaSalle, River Park, Tutt, and Western Branches. Most recently, she spearheaded the Main Library and Community Learning Center’s construction and renovation project in downtown South Bend. This transformational project involved an unprecedented public-private partnership with the Community Foundation and the City of South Bend.
Christine Pochert Ringle, president of the SJCPL Board, said, “Debra has made a tremendous impact on our library and our community as a whole. We wish her the very best in all her future endeavors.”
Futa stated, “I knew I wanted to work in a public library as early as high school. By the time I was in college and spent a summer as an intern, I knew I wanted it to be this library. It’s been an honor.”
A strong advocate for the value of libraries as true community centers, Futa has worked to expand the library’s reach in our community, build partnerships, and increase meeting room spaces available to the public. Under her leadership, SJCPL also eliminated overdue fines and fees, which will make library resources more accessible to all residents of the library’s service area.
Futa is a member of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Public Library Association (PLA). She was awarded Librarian of the Year in 2015 by the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) and has also served as a director and member of the ChoiceLight Board since 2015.