|The Women's Legacy Project of Snohomish
County, Washington seeks to honor our foremothers by recording and
sharing their personal histories, their ability to adapt to the forces
of change and their constant vigilance as stewards of the
diverse cultures of our society.|
Local Women start Alderwood Manor Community Library
by Marie Little
|It is no surprise that the rural library
district was proposed by the Snohomish County PTA
Council and endorsed by Federated Women's Clubs.
Since the turn of the twentieth century, women in
small towns and rural communities had worked to
start libraries, struggling, during the Depression
years to maintain access to reading materials.
Courtesy the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association.
|In May 1945 the Alderwood Manor Community Library became
the district’s first branch. This successful library was
born in the early summer of 1921 when a group of women,
including a teacher, Mrs. Viola Riff, met for a picnic at
Lake Serene (then known as Mud Lake). The ladies met with
Miss Mabel Ashley, the librarian of the Everett Public
Library, and Mr. J.C. Roscoe, the City's prosecuting
attorney, in August at the home of Mrs. W.T. Ross for the
purpose of organizing a Library Club, which was incorporated
the following month. Mrs. Riff made room for the first books
in a corner of her living room.
|Soon the community library moved into an old
logging-camp building donated by the Puget Mill Company, and
then relocated to Lake Road on property owned by Puget Mill.
The library flourished, supported by monthly dues paid by
members and more ambitious projects such as bazaars,
community dinners and plays. In addition to donated
material, the fledgling library circulated books from the
Washington State Traveling Library. By September 1941 their
inventory of books reached 4,000. Two months later the small
frame building burned.
courageously voted to use the insurance money to
rebuild. They purchased a small unfinished house
(pictured on the right) and moved it onto the
property, which the Puget Mill Company deeded to
them. Meanwhile, Hildreth Engler,
the librarian, circulated books, donated by neighbors, from
her home. The new library (declared by many to be better
than before) opened in May 1942.
Above is the
old logging camp building donated to be used as the
library that burned in Nov. 1941. The librarian
standing in the door is Mrs. Hildreth Engler who was
the librarian at the time. She circulated books from
her house until the new library opened in May 1942.
Photographer: Bob Downing (One of Mrs. Engler's
young patrons). Photograph
Courtesy of the Photograph courtesy of the Alderwood
Manor Heritage Association, circa 1940.
|Encouraged by the county board to relocate the Alderwood
Manor Branch to the town center when that rural area could
be served by the bookmobiles, the Library Club worked with
other community groups to establish a branch in the Fire
Station and opened it in 1952. A branch was started at
Monroe in 1954, and the new City of Mountlake Terrace joined
the system in 1955.
The Lynnwood Library opened in 1960, and when the city
limits were extended in 1962 to include Alderwood Manor, the
little library that the local women had started 41 years
earlier had the distinction of being the first branch in the
Snohomish County system to be closed.
|Resources : Jean Engler,
interview with author, October 1996; Alderwood
Community Library Minutes currently held in the Edmonds
Museum; Historical Files relating to the Alderwood
Library at the Sno-Isle Libraries Community Relations
Marie Little All Rights Reserved