Michele Drovdahl and Irene Wickstrom have recently retired from the King County Library System (KCLS), but their contributions to the Snoqualmie Valley’s libraries and reading culture are unforgettable.
Michele Drovdahl’s journey to becoming a librarian began when she was only nine years old, growing up in Sequim. “I decided to be a librarian when I was nine,” Drovdahl recalls. After living in various cities due to her husband’s military career, they settled in the Snoqualmie Valley in 1993. This is where Drovdahl started her work with KCLS, initially as a teen librarian in North Bend and Snoqualmie and later as a Regional Manager.
Drovdahl loved recommending books and organizing programs, seeing her role evolve from focusing on books to including computers and community events. “I like being with people and helping them find what they need or to help them pursue their goals,” Drovdahl said. Now retired, she reviews mystery and horror books for the American Library Association, aiding other librarians in book selection. At home, her library boasts 7,000 books, each a treasured friend to her.
Irene Wickstrom’s path intersected with the Snoqualmie Valley in 2007, assisting in opening the new Snoqualmie Library. “The month before the grand opening, we were moving books from the old location to the new,” she described the exciting phase.
Wickstrom, who initially studied elementary education and then transitioned to library science, has a varied background, including working in a library system in San Bernardino before joining KCLS in Washington.
Her passion for community events was evident, from forming a knitting group in 2010 that combined crafting skills with book discussions to facilitating a partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe for a mural project. Wickstrom was also involved in school visits, reading programs, and book sales. Despite her retirement, she doesn’t plan to slow down her reading, reflecting her deep love for books with the words, “Once a librarian, always a librarian.”
Both Drovdahl and Wickstrom have witnessed the expanding role of libraries, adapting to digital trends and remote access, especially during the pandemic. Their dedication and innovation have significantly shaped the libraries and literacy in the Snoqualmie Valley.
[Featured image: Mayor Katherine Ross and Irene Wickstrom, who served KCLS in the Snoqualmie Library as Librarian Services Manager.]