Jessica Magelaner - New Director of the Cortland Free LibraryNew Library Director Will Relocate From Turners Falls, MA – Where Her Last Post Was Director of the Orange Public Libraries, Orange, MA

The Cortland Free Library Board of Trustees today announced that it has hired Jessica Magelaner, MLIS of Turners Falls, Massachusetts as its new Library Director. The appointment was made based on a vote taken at the Board’s regular June 26th meeting, following an extensive, two and a half-month nationwide search. Magelaner begins on July 1st and will fill the position held by two interim and locally-known co-directors — Priscilla Berggren-Thomas and Kay Zaharis — after the library’s previous Director exited at the end of March, 2024.

A native of Granville, Ohio, Magelaner brings 14 years of librarianship — including 12 years of supervisory/library management experience — to the post, serving most recently as Director of the Orange Public Libraries, Orange Massachusetts since 2016; there, she also oversaw nearby Wheeler Memorial Library and Moore LeLand Library. Prior to that, Magelaner was Assistant Director/Interim Director of Mason Library in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (2011-2016), a Library Specialist I for Freedom Regional Library in Charlotte, North Carolina (2004-2010), and a Periodicals Assistant at Denison University, Granville, Ohio.

“The search committee was impressed with Jessica’s experience, particularly her attention to community needs, collaboration, outreach, and consensus-building. She’s well versed in creating and implementing special projects, overseeing collections, initiating community outreach, and staying up to date with technology.  We look forward to welcoming her and know that the community will benefit from her experience with a wide array of programming for all ages and constituencies,” said Board President, Lauren Mossotti-Kline. “I’m extremely grateful to the Trustees and staff who were engaged in the extensive search, which included multiple interviews, candidate visits to Cortland, and following up on numerous references.”

For her part, Magelaner looks forward to moving to Cortland, gaining a full appreciation of community dynamics and needs, and building on the Library’s legacy of excellence: “I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with a devoted board and a talented staff here in this beautiful historic building. I look forward to serving as your library director, and though there are many challenges facing libraries today, I’m committed to finding solutions together with the Cortland community,” shared Magelaner.

Highly competent in all areas of library service – including circulation, children’s services, senior services, reference, and all aspects of management — Magelaner earned her Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, NC and her Bachelor of Arts in English, from Salem College, Winston-Salem NC.

Wrapping up the announcement, Mossotti-Kline expressed heartfelt appreciation to Priscilla Berggren-Thomas and Kay Zaharis for their service as interim co-directors – and to the Library’s staff for their steadfastness, patience, and focus during this period of transition.

“We quite literally could not have done this without Priscilla and Kay holding the fort while our Board and personnel committee, in particular, conducted the search that led us to Jessica,” she said. “And the same is true of our exceptionally devoted staff. We are unceasingly grateful.”

New CFL Trustee, Kristina PetrellaCortland, NY – The Cortland Free Library today announced that Kristina Petrella has joined the organization’s Board of Trustees.

A native of Cortland, Petrella is currently a Community Response Team Coordinator at Cornell University. Prior to this, she was a Child Protective Services Caseworker, a Victim Advocate/DSS for Cortland County Aid to Victims of Violence, and an American Sign Language Interpreter. Petrella holds a Master of Science (M.A.) degree in Community Health from SUNY Cortland; a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Psychology (Magna Cum Laude) with minors in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Forensic Psychology; and an Associates (A.S.) degree from Tompkins Cortland Community College. Her academic experience also included service as a graduate assistant, teaching assistant, and intern; lecturing; and grant-acquisition.

“We are genuinely excited to welcome Kristina to our team of Trustees, where her experience with serving underserved and at-risk populations will add invaluable perspective and understanding to our oversight efforts, policy development, and input into day-to-day operations,” said Cortland Free Library Board President, Lauren Mossotti-Kline. “Kristina is also expert in matters related to the developmental and social challenges faced by youth, has formidable experience with the unique needs and perspectives of the LGBTQ community and those with disabilities, and she is, herself, a parent of young children and regular user of our library. So these, too, will help inform and guide our organization at the Board level.”

Petrella is also very involved in local volunteerism and civic engagement, serving as a community member on the library’s Ad Hoc Committee focused on issues related to homelessness; as dog foster for the Recycle-A-Bull Bully Breed Rescue program; and as a Cortland County task force member mandated by NYS Executive Order 203 (Police Reform and Reinvention). Additionally, she is the recipient of several awards and honors, among them being a finalist in the SUNY Cortland Distinguished Voices Short Story Contest, recognition as a SUNY Cortland Campus Champion, and winning the SUNY Cortland Psychology Department Major Academic Achievement Award.

Outside of her professional, academic, and community endeavors, Petrella enjoys Reading, triathlon, endurance sports, and spending time with her three dogs and five children.