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New chapter for a storyteller

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

Rebecca Teeters admits admits she’ll have to “try not to cry” at her retirement send-off. That’s how much being a children’s librarian has meant to her.

Teeters is ending a career that includes 20 years with the King County Library System, the last 15 at the South 320th branch in Federal Way. The library will host a party and open house there from 4 to 6 p.m. tomorrow, her final day of work.

While growing up “in the country” near Spokane, she never had a “burning desire” to be a librarian because there were no libraries nearby and no one to emulate, she said. Not until her sister suggested it as a profession did Teeters decide to study it at the University of Washington. After that, she worked at libraries in Honolulu, Hawaii before moving to King County when her husband got a job here.

For many children in Federal Way, Teeters became almost as much a part of the South 320th Library as the books themselves. She has conducted regular story times for 5-and-unders (her favorites are the 3-to-5-year-olds because “they can listen longer” without losing focus), using puppets and a guitar to add to the storytelling.

She said the sessions were the best part of her job because she was helping introduce young children to a lifetime of reading and enjoyment of books and libraries.

Older children or young adults have told her they “remember me reading stories to them,” she said. “I’ve watched kids literally grow up in libraries.”

“She is well-known for her stories, helpful manner and twinkle in her eye,” said Avis Jobrack, another children’s librarian.

That goes beyond the library. Teeters has visited Federal Way Public Schools’ Head Start office four times a year to read to children there and give away free, multi-language books through a library system-administered program.

“The kids love her,” said Linda de Pilar, a Head Start official.

In retirement, Teeters will have more time for activities that have interested her for a while, such as birdwatching and drama.

And she’ll miss the South 320th branch. “I’m so grateful to have worked in this community. The people have such a loyalty to this branch. I hope it stays at this location,” she said, referring to a controversial proposal by the library system to relacate the branch downtown. Well over 100 library users have signed petitions against moving.

Lisa Barkhurst will replace Teeters.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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