GB’s Next Libraries Director: Samara Klein

photo of samara klein libraries director

The town’s next libraries director is Samara Klein, who will oversee operations at the Mason and Ramsdell Libraries.

Klein, a resident of Housatonic, has worked in the publishing field since 2004. Most recently she was director of PJ Publishing at the nonprofit PJ Library, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in Agawam. PJ Library publishes and distributes free Jewish children’s books around the world.

She has also worked at The New Press, an independent, nonprofit, public-interest book publisher, as the marketing and rights director. At Clavis Publishing she was senior manager, and at Abrams Books, she was sales manager for the children’s book list, where she managed the multi-million copy sale of the bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

Town Manager Mark Pruhenski said: “Samara rose to the top during our search and recruitment process, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to our team of department heads. She’s already a familiar face in town and in our two public libraries which should make this period of transition as seamless as possible. I would also like to express my gratitude to Interim Co-Directors Talya Leodari and Donna Brown for all their assistance over the past few months.”

A graduate of Eugene Lang College at The New School University, Klein earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, graduating with honors. She is now completing her master’s degree in library and information studies at the University of Alabama.

In her new role, Klein will oversee the libraries’ print and digital resources, and the Library of Things at Ramsdell Library, along with the libraries’ various programs and events for children and adults.  

In FY 2019 – the most recent full year of operations prior to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions – the libraries circulated more than 131,000 items. Patrons use the libraries’ computers thousands of times each year, and meeting rooms are used for events and meetings hundreds of times annually. Library events online and in-person drew 3,747 participants during the FY20 year.

As a volunteer in the community, Klein has served on the Great Barrington Library Board of Trustees, and she has been a volunteer tutor for the Literacy Network of South Berkshire. This summer, she was the arts and crafts program leader in the Mason Library’s children’s department, and she volunteers at Berkshire South Community Center’s community suppers

In Brooklyn, N.Y., she was chair of the Friday Night Committee at the Greenpoint Shul, and she was a volunteer and fundraiser for the Greenpoint Reform Church Soup Kitchen.