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Board of Directors

friends of the library logo

The Friends of the Belmont Public Library is a nonprofit, charitable 501(c)(3) all-volunteer organization dedicated to the active promotion, welfare and support of the Belmont Public Library and its vital role in our community. The Friends has a board of 21 members, elected annually.

Executive Directors

Elaine Westermark, Co-President

Elaine Westermark, Friends Co-PresidentElaine graduated from Belmont High School and was a classmate of her co-president Marie. After attending business school with her husband, and working in New York and Washington DC, she returned to Belmont. Elaine worked in international business and conducted fundraising for a small nonprofit while she and her husband raised their children. The Belmont Public Library has been a valued resource that she relied on both as a student, and parent. In Elaine’s words, “Strong schools and strong libraries are central to building strong communities.”

As Friends co-president, Elaine uses her professional experience and her joy of meeting new people to bring the Belmont community closer, and to strengthen the town’s awareness and support of the FoBPL.

Elaine first learned of the Friends through her co-design of the “Frankenstein” floral arrangement as interpreted for Books in Bloom, an event co-sponsored by the Friends of the Belmont Public Library and the Belmont Garden Club.

Marie Mabardi, Co-President

Marie Mabardi, Friends Co-PresidentA lifelong Belmont resident, Marie has fond memories of perusing books at the Belmont Public Library, and continuing the tradition with her two sons. While the boys attended the Belmont Public Schools, Marie actively volunteered in the Winn Brook PTA, Parents of Performing Arts Company, and Belmont Boosters. While volunteering with Friends of Belmont Football, she coordinated team dinners for voracious appetites. Marie assumed the co-president role inspired by her love of the Library and the importance it represents to the Belmont community. She and Elaine were classmates at Belmont High School. 

Marie’s lifelong love of reading and appreciation of all the Library has to offer inspired her to join the Friends, continuing the almost half-century efforts of the directors whom she describes as a tireless, dedicated group.

A successful entrepreneur, Marie is co-founder of Great Getaways Travel, a women-owned travel management group in Boston. 

Susan Black, Co-Treasurer

Susan Black, Friends Co-TreasurerSusan has been a Friend of the Belmont Public Library for nearly a decade. When her children were younger, she took them to the Library almost daily. During their visits, Susan met many Library members who have since become personal friends. Today, on trips to the Library, she looks forward to seeing familiar faces.

In her words, “The Library is a very welcoming community of which I’m proud to be a part. The Friends supports the Library through enhancement of programs for all ages, and provides free passes to museums and exhibits. As a Friends director, I strive to enhance Library outreach to the Belmont community.” In addition to her role as co-treasurer, Susan devotes time to the Chenery Book Awards, and the Library’s Beatification Team – both Friends-supported events.

Hannah Fischer, Co-Treasurer

Hannah Fischer, Friends Co-TreasurerHannah and her family have been Belmont residents for almost 15 years. In 2012, after hearing about the wonderful work and financial support the Friends provides to the Library, she became a member, and began volunteering in book donations. The following year, she developed an elementary school book distribution system through which the Friends distributes hundreds of books to all six school libraries throughout the year. In 2015, she signed on as co-treasurer of the FoBPL and today continues in this role. 

Hannah is proud to be a member of the Friends, an organization focused on improving the Library and benefitting every member of the community. In her words, “The Belmont Public Library is truly a community center – a place where everyone is welcome, and where the possibilities are limitless. Not only can one utilize borrowing privileges, but the access to services at the Library are incomparable. Where else can one meet a sled dog on one day, take out a book on surfing the next, and convene a board meeting for a local sports organization to cap off the week?”

Pamela Delalla, Secretary

Pamela Delalla, Friends SecretaryPamela initially moved to Belmont in 2019 for its proximity to Boston and Cambridge. She soon came to appreciate the town for its diverse neighborhoods, cultural resources, eateries and other attractions. Pamela met Marie at the Annual Book Sale three months after moving to Belmont, and was quickly attracted to the Friends as a valuable and essential supporter of Belmont’s Library resources. Pamela currently sits on the FoBPL board as secretary.

Professionally, Pamela is an experienced commercial programmer, space planner and interior designer. Having transitioned to marketing, she is currently a proposal writer for firms specializing in architectural and infrastructure design. Her proposal writing skills contribute to written communication of the Friends community outreach. 

Diane Malcolmson, Marketing Communications

Diane Malcolmson, Friends Marketing CommunicationsDiane is a longtime resident of Belmont where she and her husband raised two children. She has dedicated her professional career to advancing the mission and funding of large and small nonprofits that seek to strengthen their communities and improve our world. Diane enjoys working with Marie, Elaine, and the entire Friends network to promote Belmont Public Library’s outstanding programs and resources.

In Diane’s words, “Strong libraries are a cornerstone of a vibrant and welcoming community.”


Directors-At-Large

Colleen Bolton

Colleen BoltonThe Library has always been an important part of Colleen’s life. Having recently moved to Belmont, she joined the Friends of the Belmont Public Library to meet others in the Belmont community and become involved in community efforts. While living in Cambridge, she had a Belmont Library card and often visited the Library to check out books and movies, and take advantage of the reference area.

Colleen is Senior Manager of Customer Experience at DraftKings where she established the Quality and Customer Satisfaction Measurement program for the Customer Experience Team.

Emily Bowman

Emily BowmanEmily has been a resident of Belmont for the past 16 years, including the time she was attending college in Boston. Realizing the Friends’ significant contributions to supporting Library programs and events, she wanted to become involved. In her words, “It’s such an important resource for our community that I wanted to do more for it.” Emily holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons University, and currently works in higher education administration at Harvard University. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, going for walks, and crocheting. She lives with her husband, a longtime Belmont resident, and their cat Mira.

Laura Caputo

Laura CaputoLaura and her two middle school-aged daughters check out library books, a dozen at a time. In her words, “The Children’s Room played such an important role for me when my kids were younger. We would meet up with friends there and come home with bags full of books.” As Laura’s girls grew older and she had more free time, she connected with the Friends of the Library Board of Directors as a way to stay involved and give back to the Library she loved so much. During her six years on the Friends board, Laura has worked on the annual audit, and has also helped set up the Annual Book Sale. 

Laura attended high school in Western Massachusetts and college at Princeton. She runs her own local business, Belmont Academic Prep, which provides test preparation for high school students taking the SAT and ACT.

Kristen Carte-Smith

Kristen Carte-SmithKristen has been a teacher and curriculum writer for over twenty years. She recently moved to Belmont from Santa Barbara, California with her husband and three children. Most recently, Kristen was School and Teacher Services Manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Sea Center. In that role she trained, and developed program goals for museum educators and volunteers, and created a teacher lending library.

Kristen also managed Santa Barbara’s community outreach program for docent recruitment through social media, and created a community outreach campaign promoting the library’s value. She has taught in private, public and charter schools; and has held academic administration positions. Kristen’s hobbies include tennis, golf, surfing, hiking and oil painting.

Kelly Chiu

Kelly ChiuKelly heard about the Friends of the Belmont Public Library through her dear friend and FoBPL co-president, Elaine Westermark. The Belmont Public Library has held a special place in her heart throughout the 11- plus years she and her family have lived in Belmont. Kelly has fond memories of attending infant story time led by entertaining librarians, and her children proudly getting their first Library cards. The summer reading program is one of her family’s favorite events.

Kelly views public libraries as natural gathering spaces, providing opportunities for personal and community development. For that reason, she is happy to help support the Friends mission to support the Library’s programs and staff. As a parent of school-age children, she hopes to be a liaison between the Library and other Belmont parents, and in addition, promote the Friends presence on social media.

Diane Coulopoulos

Diane CoulopoulosDiane views the Library as serving many important functions, and affording access to all members of the community. As a Friends board member, she has been particularly involved in the One Book One Belmont program and serves as chairperson of the Chenery Book Awards. Diane is a Professor Emerita of Psychology, and since retirement, has been a volunteer at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Nancy Dignan

Nancy DignanNancy was invited to join the FoBPL as membership chair and was subsequently elected president for two terms. She currently organizes the Annual Book Sale and with Louise Halstead, oversees the FoBPL book sales including the Everyday Book Sale, pop-ups and dealer sales. Nancy served on the Belmont Library Feasibility Task Force, the Library Marketing Task Force, the Hiring Committee for a new Library director and all Books in Bloom task forces. A Belmont resident for 18 years, she has four children – two grown and two in college. In her words, “I love our Library and have lately enjoyed accessing ebooks and during COVID-19, miss the myriad of programs run by the Library’s talented and dedicated staff.”

Louise Halstead

Louise HalsteadLouise is chair of book operations for the FoBPL. She and her family have been Belmont residents for over 30 years. During her son’s school-age years, Louise organized classroom/school library visits and as a Friends board member, volunteered to be the liaison between the Friends and Chenery School. At Chenery, Louise collaborated with committee members to select candidates to receive the Friends awards for Most Improved Student, and Student of Excellence in Language Arts. In addition, Louise has volunteered at the Friends-sponsored Library music programs.

Since 1998, the Halsteads have become eclipse chasers around the world. They hope to see their seventh eclipse in the United States.

Beatrix Kastor 

Beatrix and Tony KastorBeatrix and Tony were first drawn to the Belmont Public Library for their appreciation of the Library’s director and superior staff. This prompted them to become members, and later board members of the Friends. Beatrix was drawn to the Library’s infant program which she viewed as a wonderful socializing experience for her grandson. She and her husband soon discovered that the Library offered more programs than they had ever experienced; they are currently members of several groups. Beatrix has held executive administration positions in several large corporations and non-profit organizations. She speaks fluent (native) German.

Tony Kastor

Tony was raised in New York City. He holds an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, and a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. With 50 years experience practicing architecture and now retired, he is pursuing a lifelong passion for painting. Tony is knowledgeable in art history, and speaks Greek.

Leigh Kenney

Leigh KenneyA mother of two young sons, Leigh and her family have spent countless hours attending our Library’s wonderful events including musical performances, story times, and visiting museums as part of the museum pass program. When Leigh learned these and similar events were sponsored by the Friends of the Belmont Public Library, she joined to further the Friends mission of providing early literacy programs, and raise awareness of the many ways Friends supports the Library.

In Leigh’s words, “The Library has done a wonderful job finding creative ways to reach out to families with young children to encourage a love of reading and provide access to books.” She looks forward to working with the board to raise awareness of the Friends valuable work within the school community.

Margery Staman Miller

Margery Staman MillerIn Margery’s words, “Being connected with the Library through the work of the Friends has been rewarding and is a wonderful fit for me … belonging to a new community of caring individuals who are also reading enthusiasts and lovers of books …”

Throughout Margery’s partnership with Library staff and participation in the Friends Annual Book Sale, she realized that being a contributor to this organization’s efforts was a natural fit for her. Margery is actively involved in developing the Friends strategy to broaden its outreach to Belmont’s community. She is also helping to create a greater awareness of the Friends collaboration with the trustees, Library director and staff. Margery has worked in conjunction with the Library director and a small committee to examine the Library’s marketing message and materials. She has also embraced the opportunity to co-chair the membership committee.

Margery has previously held faculty and  chair positions for the Language and Literacy Division of a local university, and retired as a Professor Emeritus.

Robin Ratcliff

Robin RatcliffRobin has always enjoyed libraries – visiting and utilizing them during her travels, years of education and raising her children. In her words, “Libraries are a wonderful asset for the community and offer something for everyone.” A Friend of the Library for many years, Robin began by volunteering her design services which she continues to provide. Robin raised her two sons in Belmont and currently lives with her husband Michael and dog Leo. She enjoys gardening, harvesting summer fruits, and taking hikes with her family and dog.

Robin has managed her own graphic design business, Fyfe Design, for 20-plus years. In her words,  “As a designer, I enjoy creating visual communication that appears effortless. I value the printed page and the wonder, knowledge and delight it can reveal.”

Laury Verner

Laury VernerDuring 35 years of living in Belmont, Laury and his family have been avid users of the Library. In addition to taking out books, magazines and DVDs, Laury has enjoyed attending Library talks and has benefitted from the assistance of the reference librarians. To assist the Library in achieving its goals, he and his family have been annual donors to the Friends. Laury was recently elected to the board and brings with him planning and communication skills.

Professionally, Laury has worked for EMC and other Massachusetts high-tech firms, planning and developing software solutions for various industries.

Lynn Zheng

Lynn ZhengLynn was introduced to the Friends while co-organizing lectures with the Belmont Chinese American Association held at the Belmont Public Library. She is an active participant of Library-sponsored events such as Tai Chi Easy, and Book Club. Lynn will apply her digital marketing and bilingual skills towards introducing the Asian community to Friends, and expanding Belmont’s diverse cultural groups.

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