Staff & Volunteers

Jaclyn and lily 2

Jaclyn Savolainen
Library Director

Jaclyn was thrilled to become the director of Starr Library in July of 2023. She is responsible for day-to-day library operations, including overseeing staffing, programming, collections, facilities, policies, funding initiatives, and reporting, as well as helping patrons and working with the Board of Trustees to meet the public’s needs and plan for Starr’s future. Previously, Jaclyn served as Acting Director of Ritz Library at Dutchess Community College and as an instructional and reference librarian. She began her library career as a part-time adult programmer at Starr. Jaclyn also served as a trustee on the Rhinebeck Board of Education for six years. Fulfilling almost all the stereotypes of a librarian, Jaclyn knits, collects cats (and a dog), and owns a lot of cardigans. She probably talks about her children too much.  

Brooke Stevens
Assistant Director & Children’s Librarian

Brooke Stevens joined the staff of Starr Library in 1998 as the part-time children’s programmer. Highlights of those early years involved the talents of many artists, entertainers, and educators who engaged Rhinebeck audiences with exotic animals, storytelling, puppetry, magic, music, and even a mime! Over time, Brooke took on the role of both Children’s Librarian and Assistant Director. She is happiest surrounded by books and steeped in the world of children’s literature. Outside of the library, you are most likely to find Brooke in the kitchen, listening to a favorite podcast or Spotify playlist while trying out a new recipe, or reading from a stack of new and vintage cookbooks, of which she owns way too many!

Michelle Montalbano
Program Director

Michelle came to Starr Library in 2022 after five years at Brooklyn Public Library, where she was both a branch librarian in Red Hook and a reference librarian at the Center for Brooklyn History. In both roles, she focused on programming and exhibitions. Since coming to Starr, Michelle has established an event series with local authors, monthly writing workshops, an all abilities program with The Anderson Center, and a few other things. She also runs Starr Library’s book club and plays an active role in all aspects of library operations. She loves working in this community with all its wonderful people and organizations. When she’s not at her desk, you can find her on her bicycle, making things (including dinner), keeping up her NY Times crossword streak, and (to no one’s surprise) reading and writing.

staff photo Rowan Willigan

Rowan Willigan
Graphic/Creative Designer & Webmaster

Rowan first started working at Starr shelving books when she was 15, and now, 10+ years later, is in charge of creating modern and engaging  marketing materials for the library’s  programs and announcements. Rowan adores the environment at Starr, and loves that she can interact with Rhinebeck’s kind community. Additionally, Rowan is a visual artist, muralist, and a photographer. You can learn more about Rowan here.  Born in the Hudson Valley, she loves exploring eateries and breweries during her free time, as well as taking walks at Poet’s Walk. Rowan’s favorite genre of books to check out from the library is cookbooks!


Katy Kollar
Circulation Desk Staff

Katy Kollar and her family moved to Rhinebeck in 2014.  A graduate of Manhattan College, she spent a year volunteering at a women’s shelter in Sitka, AK with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. After taking time out to raise her three children, she started and ran a successful small business for six years on Long Island before moving permanently up to the Hudson Valley. 
Katy is also an active advocate for her autistic son Owen, and has served as a trustee of the Anderson Center for Autism, including President of Anderson Family Partners. 
She and her husband Kevin have two other children, Cameron and Grace, and enjoy traveling, reading, and skiing in the Catskills. 

Christine Livesey
Circulation Desk Staff

Christine Livesey and her husband Alex moved to Rhinebeck 20 years ago, where she’s since raised two amazing children. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Filmmaking from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master’s in Education, and taught art and film for 12 years on Long Island. When she’s not working at Starr Library, she’s teaching Film and Acting at Dutchess Community College, working on printmaking, watching old movies, and traveling with her husband.

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Laila Watts
Circulation Desk Staff

Laila is a recent addition to the Starr Library circulation staff and is excited to meet the locals of Rhinebeck. She has worked in the Poughkeepsie Public Library District at Adriance Memorial Library and Boardman Road Library for a little over three years. Laila is a Poughkeepsie native and resident and is currently studying Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. Outside of work and college; Laila enjoys ballet, playing with her kitty Giselle(Gigi), singing, and of course reading books.

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Paris Newmaster
Circulation Desk Staff

Paris recently earned her Master’s degree in English literature from SUNY New Paltz and finds herself feeling right at home in Starr Library. Being an avid reader, she has a love for all books, but is particularly drawn to literature in translation. Much of Paris’ independent research involves investigating the nature of being in nonhumans and objects, most recently in Paru Itagaki’s series Beastars. When not at Starr Library, you can either find Paris enjoying all that nature has to offer, or spending time with her two cats Man Man and Taki. She is also currently learning German and has plans to travel extensively overseas in the near future.

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Circulation Desk Staff

Amy has been in and out of libraries her whole life. She grew up in Dutchess County and went to Arlington High School, where she decided she wanted to be “a nice librarian, who wouldn’t yell at the kids just hanging out.” Even though she didn’t end up getting her degree in Library Science, she did get her Bachelor’s Degree in English at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. From there, she has worked in many libraries, ranging from the Millbrook Library, to a couple libraries down in Orlando, Florida, to a school library in Accord, NY, to the Woodstock Library, and now to the Starr Library.

Amy loves to read and write. She hopes to get her act together enough to write a novel, but often gets distracted with playing video games, crocheting, or cozying up with her cats Johnny and Freya. She enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons and board games with her friends. When not at the library, she can be found at home in Rhinebeck, NY with her partner Seamus, dreaming of a future with many animals.


Linda Blackwell
Mary Burns
Chris Guiney
Connie Lown

Debbie Hecht
Robert Strickstein
Judy Winzemer

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