South Puget Sound History

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The South Puget Sound Chapter, formerly the Tacoma Area Chapter, covers four counties: South King County, Pierce, Thurston, and Kitsap. Cities that participated during the chapter’s early years were Auburn, Centralia, Olympia, Port Orchard, Puyallup, Tacoma, and University Place.

For the Tacoma Area Chapter, 1968-70 were years of organization with one Friday night potluck and one daytime meeting or workshop a year. Jo Olsen pioneered PNACL in the Tacoma area. She started library workshops at Pacific Lutheran University. Mable Maas assisted with the chapter organization with the help of the Seattle Chapter. The by-laws were adopted and incorporated at this time.

The 1970s


1970: Jackie Pitzl
1971-73: Jo Olsen
1974: Mildred White
1975-77: Irene Belknap
1977-78: Marjorie Cook
1979-80: Grace Berry

Book reports called “teasers” and roundtables were popular in the 1970s meetings. The Little Church of the Prairie held a creative “fashion show” featuring book posters and short book reports. A workshop was held at Pacific Lutheran University in 1975. That same year, Connie Soth from Portland shared The Call of the Church Librarian and The Ministry of Books. In 1977, Dr. Spencer Shaw from the University of Washington spoke on The Library, a Shared Experience. In 1978 the Tacoma Area and Seattle chapters joined together for a church library seminar. Renewal of Life was the theme with mini-book reviews.

The 1980s


1980: Grace Berry
1981: Neldalyn Simmons
1982-83: Sharone Ketterman
1984-85: Neldalyn Simmons
1985-90: JoAnn Pedersen

Some of the interesting meetings in the 1980s were a luncheon with Colleen Reece, author and lecturer; a demonstration of processing paperback books by Judy Leslie; and poster making led by Marjorie Cook. One session presented the library’s role in ministering to the handicapped. JoAnn Pedersen led workshops on accessioning new materials and repairing books. Tony White, library director at Highline Community College, taught a series of lessons on cataloging. An annual book exchange started in 1985. Also in 1985 the chapter had a consignment of new books from one of the local book stores for viewing. There was a class on banner making in 1987.

The Tacoma Area Chapter hosted the Pass the Torch conference, June 1984 at Pacific Lutheran University. Workshops included Book Selection Aids, Cartooning for Libraries by Bron Smith, Writing New Items, and Book Reviewing. Fourteen authors were present. Mark Fey’s multimedia presentation was an inspiration to all those attending. Dr. Spencer Shaw was the morning keynote speaker.

By the late 1980s the Tacoma Area Chapter was meeting six times a year on the third Saturday of the month.

The 1990s


1990-1993: Jane Dudley
1994: Sharone Ketterman
1995-99: Florence Blankenship

The October meetings were held in Olympia since more members had joined from that city. On May 19, 1990, June Ruyle presented Norene Wright with a plaque and an Honorary Life Membership for eighteen years of dedication and work for the Tacoma Area Chapter. In 1991, Jo Olsen was awarded an Honorary Life Membership for service and was locally noted for a very prestigious book discussion group she founded. Neldalyn Simmons was honored as well. She was a professional who worked willingly and well.

The Tacoma Area Chapter hosted Discover Your New World on July 9-11, 1992 at the University of Puget Sound. Computer applications were featured by Computerland of Tacoma. Elaine Colvin spoke on Visions for Tomorrow at the banquet followed by a contemporary Christian concert from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Dorothy.

On October 20, 1990, Florence Blankenship from Olympia gave an informative program on archives, book preservation, and acid paper. In 1995, Florence announced that the PNACL archives had been placed in the archives of Pacific Lutheran University. Winnie Paine, chapter secretary, died in 1995. She was missed as a person and by the group. A chapter membership certificate was designed in 1995.

The Tacoma Area Chapter hosted the Go Tell It on the Mountain Conference, July 19-20, 1996 at the United Methodist Church in Puyallup. Dr. Ruth Berg, the keynote speaker, spoke on To Dance, To Sing, To Tell Stories. A panel of five experts had a question and answer session.

In 1997, the chapter took a tour of Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Lakewood. A workshop was held at Tumwater Evangelical Free Church to help organize their church library. At another meeting, a letter press printing club demonstrated setting type and using a table top press. In 1998, Dr. Sharon Bridwell spoke on C.S. Lewis, his life and works. Winnie Boland of the Washington Coalition Against Censorship addressed the issue of banned books at the October 1999 meeting. The decade of the 1990s was productive and challenging.

The 2000s and 2010s


2000-2006: Dee Ann Hoff
2006-2008: Dee Ann Hoff and Roberta Larson
2008-2010: Roberta Larson
2010-2012: Loraine Anderson and Roberta Larson
2012-2014: Jenny Louden
2014-2016: Sue Boggs

Honorary Life Members: Joanne Pedersen and Jane Dudley

On May 18, 2013 the name of the Tacoma Area Chapter was changed to the South Puget Sound Chapter by a unanimous vote of the members. Chapter members during the 2010s were from Gig Harbor, Lacey, Olympia, Steilacoom, and Tacoma.

Seven meetings are held each year on the third Saturday of the month. An informal potluck luncheon is held in August to provide planning time for the next year’s meetings. This planning time includes scheduling devotions, book reviews, and sharing of ideas about programs.

Every meeting consists of a devotion and book review. There is a business meeting that includes a report by the Executive Board representative. Following a business meeting, a chapter member or invited guest presents a program. Some of the guest speakers have included: author Bette Nordberg (Christian fiction), artist Marc Gulsrud (stained glass window at Mt. Cross Lutheran), Lutheran pastor Holle Plaehn (author of Door to Door with Jesus), illustrator Nancy Anderson (Another Way to Tell a Story), and librarian Judy Gann (religious fiction).

Meeting programs by members have included topics such as archive information, collection development, children’s books, donation policies and mission statements, library weeding, Christian fiction, poetry, display ideas and bulletin boards, library volunteers, promotion ideas, reading and study programs within several denominations, and books about religions of the world. In 2000, the chapter helped organize books for the Tacoma Crisis Pregnancy Center.

At our May meeting, instead of a program there is a book review by each member. In addition, elections are held at that meeting and a book exchange takes place.

South Puget Sound Chapter has hosted the following PNACL conferences during this period:

2004: Bearers of the Word at Christ Lutheran Church, Lakewood

2012: Bee Thankful for Church Libraries at Pacific Lutheran University, Parkland

2017: Jubilee, 50th anniversary celebration of the incorporation of PNACL at the site of the first workshop hosted by PNACL, with South Puget Sound Chapter hosting at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland.

Compiled by Florence Blankenship, Sharone Ketterman, JoAnn Pedersen, and Roberta Larson; written by Geraldine Gawith and Roberta Larson; edited by Anne Metzler.