Claire Benedict, Co-Owner, Book Buyer
Claire is the co-owner of Bear Pond Books, along with her husband Rob Kasow. She is the Buyer for the adult titles along with numerous other jobs in the store. Claire reads a lot of contemporary fiction and occasionally thinks about branching out but never really gets too far, although she does facilitate the Not-Just-Fiction Book Club. She lives in Montpelier with her family and can often be seen walking around town with her dog or with her yoga mat. Email: claire @

Rob Kasow, Co-Owner
Rob was born many years ago in a much warmer locale but has been steadily migrating north. Recently, Rob migrated once again across Main Street from Rivendell Books to Bear Pond Books where he is happily settling in and enjoying all the modern amenities of his new digs. Rob likes to read books about history, business, sports, political science and an occasional Scandinavian mystery. Email: rob @

Zoë Boner, Bookseller
Bio coming soon.



Patty Carstensen, Bookseller
Born and grown in Iowa, Patty was transplanted to Montpelier by a chance meeting with a friendly stranger in the original Horn of the Moon Café on East State Street. She started working at Bear
Pond Books in 1991 at the space that is now Down Home eatery, which used to be Rivendell Books. In the past a staunch supporter of things always remaining the same she is embracing the flow of change in the bookstore and community with warm, open arms.

Carrie Fitz, Children's Bookseller
Carrie began working at Bear Pond in 2001 as the Children's Room Manager, and left for a brief time to start her own family. She now works part-time selling children's books and assisting with author and educator events. In addition to spending time with her husband and three children, she runs her own business as a holistic educational consultant. Her literary tastes lean towards children's classics, which she balances with a steady diet of young adult fantasy. 

Cora Kelly, Bookseller
Cora has been working on and off at Bear Pond since 2001. She can't stay away, obviously. This is because she has a deep love of books, of course, but also because of the kind of people Bear Pond attracts as staff and customers. Her favorite things to read are mysteries, historical fiction, non-fiction about food and wine, and young adult novels. When she's not at Bear Pond, you can usually find her at home with her husband and daughter, cooking, knitting, or reading aloud kid's chapter books.


Jane Knight, Children's Room Manager, Educator Series Event Coordinator
Once upon a time, Jane started working at Bear Pond. That was quite a long time ago. Long before emails and Amazon, but after the wheel was invented. Today she is the head honcho in the Children's Room, doing all the buying and a whole lot of recommending. If you ask her for a copy of The Goldfinch, she will likely hand you a copy of The Stinky Cheese Man or The Story of Ferdinand, and tell you to share it with your buddy. Jane pretty much stays upstairs with Veruca. They both eat a lot and talk about children's books all day.

Samantha Kolber, Marketing & Events Coordinator
Samantha joined the Bear Pond family in December of 2016. She helps maintain the website, eNewsletters, social media pages, and books author events. She is a poet and writer who loves books--she loves to read them, to be near them, to touch them, to possess them and even smell them. She also cannot help editing them. If you see her in the store she will probably be too distracted to say hello. She apologizes. She is the former managing editor at Hunger Mountain Journal;  she received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in 2014. Email samantha @


Chris McDonald, Manager
Chris moved to Vermont from Austin, Texas in 2001 and has been at Bear Pond Books since the spring of 2002. He misses the barbecue but otherwise prefers Vermont, and considers Montpelier to be the finest small town in America. Chris has a new favorite genre just about every month, but is a particular fan of contemporary American fiction. He likes to hike, ski, explore the back roads, and eat, especially during winter.

Mary McKeever, Bookseller
Mary first started working at Bear Pond Books in 2007 after retiring from a career in teaching. She works a shift or two at the front counter and shelves books, organizes, and does whatever needs doing while working her shifts. Mary also does a fair amount of subbing if it fits in with her busy retirement schedule. She is an education consultant and you will also see her working at another local retail establishment. Such a schedule keeps her mostly out of trouble. Mary enjoys reading mysteries and historical non-fiction, poetry (mostly Mary Oliver) and some inspirational works of Pema Chodron and Anne Lamott. Mary lives in Montpelier and enjoys discussing the latest microbrews with friends and colleagues. Good dark chocolate, good dark roast coffee and an excellent brew are things Mary really enjoys.

Amanda Menard, Backlist Buyer, Special Orders
Amanda has been coming to Bear Pond Books for years–she grew up in Montpelier–and is happy to be on staff. When she’s not sitting at her desk ordering books or buzzing around the store, she assists with running the author events. In her free time she is one of the volunteer-coordinators for Lost Nation Theater. Amanda mainly likes to read fiction, history, and some science. Email: amanda @

Miranda Obrey, Bookseller

Miranda made the move from our sister store Rivendell books when we merged in 2015. When she's not helping in the store she can be found either baking with her daughter, getting a lesson on pop culture from her son, or trying to convince her husband that, yes, she really does need another bookshelf. She loves to read just about every genre but holds a special place in her heart for any fiction book that has a truly sarcastic character and any history book about the American Revolution. She can't wait to find the next book that she loves enough to incorporate into her next tattoo. 

George Spaulding, Bookseller
George works here because Jane dragged him in lo, these many years ago. The exact degree of gratitude for that is yet to be determined. He reads nearly anything, but especially enjoys biographies and mysteries. He runs the Mystery Book Club, solving crime and appreciating good writing since 2008. Oh, and he enjoys comics and science fiction; he is also deeply fond of Vermont; and cats; and cows. 

Kim Ward, Bookseller 
Kim has worked at Bear Pond Books since the fall of 2014 and currently runs the Sci Fi Plus Book Club. She received her BFA in creative writing, poetry, from Johnson State College in 1989 & her MFA in performance poetry from Goddard College in 1998. She is the founder of the Vermont Playwrights Circle and has been a theater artist for over 28 years. She is an avid reader who enjoys science fiction & fantasy, poetry, science & art. The self help section is her guilty pleasure.