Seattle History

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Seattle Chapter was organized April 12, 1968 with 43 charter members and has met an average of seven times each year. The area covers most of King County and has included members from the northern Olympic peninsula and north to the Canadian border, as well as Alaska. Paid memberships have been as high as 115 in 1978-79. Many denominations have been represented as well as numerous independent churches. Membership directories have been published since 1981-1982.

Our first president was Elva Bartholomew. Other presidents have been Gertrude Wulfekoetter, Judy Hunter, Helen Strickland, Anita Steury, Louise Neale, Beverly Landgraf, Helen Johnson, Lenora Shoup, Edith Miller, Janice Matsumoto, Jean Cummins, Iva Sutherland, Joan Reid, Carolyn Winiecki, Ann Pool, and Judy Johnson. In 1975-76, the vice-presidential responsibilities were designated with 1st VP as program chair and 2nd VP as membership chair. In 1977-78, 3rd VP as public relations chair was added.

In the early years, the annual business meeting featured an all-day program held at the Seattle Public Library. Monthly meeting programs have ranged from Starting a Church Library to Using Computers in Church Libraries. The meetings usually have been held in different churches and synagogues, featuring their libraries, but a few meetings have been hosted in bookstores. Several joint meetings have been held with the South Puget Sound Chapter. An ever-popular program has been tours of church libraries.

In 1999, Helen Estep and Iva Sutherland presented a program on the history of the chapter. The meeting was held at Washington Cathedral in Redmond, where their library was dedicated in memory of Anita Steury.

From our chapter, honorary life members who were instrumental in the founding of the Association were Elva Bartholomew, Fred Brewis, Ragnhild (Rannie) Hangar, Dr. Everett Jensen, and Nikoline White. Named later were Helen Strickland, Iva Sutherland, and Helen Estep.

Chapter Representatives serving on the Association Board of Directors have been Helen Strickland, Iva Sutherland, Beverly Landgraf, Jean Cummins, Helen Estep, Edith Miller, Judy Johnson, Marcia Hogan, Carolyn Winiecki, Liz Ulloa, and Ann Pool. Many have served as Association officers during their terms.

In 1965, before the PNACL was organized, Helen Estep chaired the fifth conference (called workshop at that time) sponsored by Pacific Lutheran College (later Pacific Lutheran University) for church librarians. Boppell Memorial Library at West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle, directed by Helen, was one of the case studies presented in Planning and Furnishing the Church Library, written by Marian Johnson and published by Augsburg in 1966.

The first five annual Association workshop/conferences hosted by Seattle Chapter were held at Lutheran Bible Institute (later Trinity College) in Issaquah, WA. The first one in 1980 was a joint conference with Congregational Library Association of British Columbia.

Co-chairs for the 1980 conference were Anita Steury and Iva Sutherland. The theme was Climb the Heights. Keynote speaker was Evelyn Kingston of CLABC. The Reverend Bruce Larson was the featured speaker at the Founders Banquet. Another highlight was the tour of nearby church libraries including Newport Covenant Church with its “reading pit” for children. This was also the occasion when Louise Neale introduced us to “unfortunate” fortune cookies as a promotional tool.

In 1988, Louise Neale and Beverly Landgraf co-chaired the conference with a nautical theme of Setting the Course. Taproot Theatre Company of Seattle was featured in a performance of Droodles Do Proverbs. Two topics fairly new to church libraries were showcased: videos and computers. Another important topic was Jewish Books in Church Libraries.

Janice Matsumoto and Iva Sutherland co-chaired the 1994 conference. God’s Resource Garden was the theme. The Reverend Dr. Dale Turner was the keynote speaker. Meeting Local Authors and Video Producers showcased C. B. Christiansen, Sandy Dengler, Debra Jarvis, Carolyn Martin, Colleen Reece, Bron Smith, and Grayley Taylor.

Countdown 2000: High Tech, High Touch was the theme in 1999, chaired by Iva Sutherland. One unique topic was on the clergy in mystery stories. The session on computers and the Internet included a laptop computer online demonstration.

In 2007, Judy Johnson chaired the conference with the theme of Navigating the Information Age. Keynote speaker was Deborah Jacobs, head of the Seattle Public Library. In addition to several workshop sessions on computer programs and online resources was a presentation of resources about Islam.

The 2014 conference was held at Northwest University in Kirkland, WA with the theme A Patchwork of Media. Carolyn Winiecki chaired the conference. The keynote speakers, best-selling author Wanda Brunstetter and her photographer husband Richard, spoke about Amish life. Storyteller Debbie Dimitre presented A Patchwork of Favorite Tales on Friday night.