New director at South Routt Library no stranger to libraries or Oak Creek |

New director at South Routt Library no stranger to libraries or Oak Creek

New South Routt Library District Director Adrienne Saffioti stands inside the Oak Creek Library on Monday, May 1, 2023. Saffioti took over from former Director Debbie Curtis at the start of the year and is now opening a new chapter after 25 years with the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

When the South Routt Library District hired Adrienne Saffioti as its director at the end of January, it was obvious the district had found an experienced and passionate leader to replace longtime Director Debbie Curtis.

Even better, Saffioti calls Oak Creek home.

“I’ve always loved libraries,” Saffioti said. “It’s not so much the reading, but I think it’s more the atmosphere of the library that I really enjoy.”

Saffioti, who has a degree in biology from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, got her start in the library world when she was hired to work in acquisitions at the Bud Werner Memorial Library by former Director Chris Painter, who retired in June 2021. Saffioti, who does not have a degree in library or information science, credits Painter for giving her a start.

“I just applied for the acquisition position with Chris Painter 25 years ago,” Saffioti responded when asked how her library career began. “When this job opened and they didn’t require a degree, I said, ‘Great, I don’t have to commute anymore.'”

After enjoying a long career in Steamboat Springs, Saffioti opened a new chapter when she accepted the position as director of the South Routt Library District, where she will look after the libraries in Oak Creek and Yampa. The job also keeps her closer to home.

“(Saffioti has) fresh eyes and years of experience in a larger library system,” said Janet Panabaker, a member of the South Routt Library District board. “She is getting to know the community, and she’s looking for new ways to connect the community with a library.”

Saffioti said that avoiding the daily commute was a big reason she applied for the South Routt position, but her choice was also based on her desire to be more connected to the community where she lives. 

South Routt Library District Director Adrienne Saffioti, photographed in the Oak Creek Library Monday, May 1, 2023, may be a new face for the district, but that doesn’t mean she is new to libraries or the community. After working in acquisitions for the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs for 25 years, Saffioti has taken over from former director Debbie Curtis at the start of the year.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“I didn’t get to know a lot of people here because I wasn’t here,” Saffioti said of spending her days working in Steamboat before heading home to Oak Creek. “It’s been really nice to meet new people and to meet people that I haven’t met in the last 25 years.”

As far as new programs, Panabaker pointed to “Another Good Yarn” as one of the new ways in which Saffioti is reaching out to the community.

There has been a similar program, “A Good Yarn,” that has been successful in Hayden and is run by their library director, Ana Lash. That program has focused on knitting and crochet for many years. Before starting the program in Oak Creek, Saffioti reached out to Lash to make sure it was OK, and the name is a tribute to the program in Hayden.

Panabaker is excited to see where Saffioti’s energy, enthusiasm and vision will take the Oak Creek and Yampa libraries in the coming years. Saffioti is also eager see where the adventure will lead, and she is excited to be a bigger part of the community she loves.

“It was just the perfect opportunity to stay in the community, and to get to know my neighbors,” Saffioti said. “I think local libraries are import because they provide local access — especially for seniors who don’t want to drive to Steamboat or who aren’t driving anymore. I also think it’s important for students to have local access. Steamboat is wonderful, they have so many more resources than we do, but we also have access. We have online access, and everything our public could want, we can help them find it or we can access resources at other libraries.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.