Board of Trustees
Photo (l-r): Bob Bates, Chuck Petras, Teresa Myott (retired), Steve Balzarini, and Becky Dickerson.
The WCL Board of Trustees is composed of five members of the community who are appointed by the county commissioners to serve five-year terms. A board member may serve two consecutive terms. Each member serves without compensation. They are:
Home 509-229-3444, work 229-3813, fax 229-3980
1101 Summit Road
Colton, WA 99113
1st term 1/2011 - 12/31/2015
Bob Bates has operated an insurance office in Colton for more than 25
years. A graduate of WSU with a bachelor and master’s degrees and a veteran
of the Vietnam War, Bates was a teacher and coach at Tekoa for seven years
and then moved to Colton where he led the Wildcats to a state title win at
the Kingdome in 1977. He started his insurance business part-time in 1979
and became a full time agent in 1984. He now offers life insurance,
investment and retirement plan services at his office in the former bank
building in Colton.
Charles (Chuck) Petras - Vice-Chair, position 1
Home 509-635-1502, cell 509-991-0613
2302 Walters Road
Farmington, WA 99128
1st term. 2/2012 -2/2016
Chuck Petras believes libraries are a force for betterment, both personally and economically and joined the library board with a goal of encouraging environments that foster innovation and creativity. Chuck has a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and works as a research engineer at Schweitzer Engineering. He serves as Commissioner for Fire Protection District #3 and lives with his wife between Garfield and Farmington.
303 E. Thorn
Colfax, WA 99111
1st term 1/2013–12/31/2017
In many ways, Steve Balzarini's life has been a journey from one library to the next. His first library memory is of an outing to the Great Falls Public Library with his mother when he was five. She was a voracious reader and passed the love of books and reading to her son. Steve foolishly thought he was destined to be a mechanical engineer, but after his first year at Montana State University he came to realize that books were more important than his slide rule. After graduating from MSU he came to the Palouse as a graduate student in history. His quest for a PhD led him to Holland Library, first as a student, and after he finished his degree, as the assistant WSU archivist. His years at Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections were an historians dream come true--acres of documents and books with unlimited access. But in 1978 Gonzaga University called and he replaced one very large graduate research library for that of a modest undergraduate teaching library. Crosby (now Foley) Library proved to be ideal for his needs, and he helped develop the modern European history collection. His almost daily drive to Spokane for the past thirty-five years has been made bearable by the wonderful collection of books on tape at the Colfax branch of the Whitman County Libraries.
Home 509-648-3264, work 648-6264, cell 553-9553
602 Shields Road
Colfax, WA 99111
2nd term 1/2010–12/31/2014 (filled un-expired term 10/02-2004, 1st term 1/05-12/31/09)
Becky Dickerson is a mom, library cardholder and publisher of The Community Current Newspaper in St. John, WA. As an Air Force kid, Becky was stationed with her family throughout the states and Europe, always finding refuge in her local library. This adoration of libraries has stayed with her through adulthood and leads her to her branch library, children in tow twice a week. Becky lives with her husband Todd and three girls near the family farm.
1st term 3/2014-2/28/2019
Rich Chittenden is the branch manager of US Bank in Colfax, Washington. Rich moved to the Palouse in 2008 with his wife of 19 years and 4 sons (a daughter-in-law and a grandson.) He has held his position with US Bank for the past 4 years, but has been with US Bank for 5 years. Rich’s extensive 15 year background in the financial industry has included various positions such as branch manager, mortgage banker, personal banker, and senior mortgage advisor. Rich likes to be involved in helping his community grow and develop, which drew him to the Whitman County Library Board. Rich is also involved in Colfax Rotary where he currently holds the President Elect position along with Assistant Sargent at Arms and is a current board member for Tekoa Ambulance. Rich loves the outdoors and spends his off time fishing, hunting or being with family.
Library board members are appointed by the Whitman County Commissioners to serve a term of 5 years. They must live within the library district and are not paid, although a travel reimbursement is available. Currently the board meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. in Colfax or occasionally in other branch locations. It is important that library trustees are visible within their own community to assist in seeking input from area residents about the library.
The five-member board of trustees is responsible for governance of Whitman County Rural Library District, which is all of Whitman County except within the Pullman City limits. The district is composed of 14 branch libraries and nearly 30 employees, most being part-time. Board members work actively to learn about the library, oversee operations and help guide its future.
If you are interested in applying for the Whitman County Library Board of Trustees, please send a letter of interest; resume or other pertinent information marked Board of Trustees, Whitman County Library, 102 S. Main Street, Colfax, WA 99111. If you have questions, contact Kristie Kirkpatrick, business manager at 397-4366.
Library contacts by phone at 397-4366 or 877-733-3375
Kristie Kirkpatrick, Library Director 397-3970, cell 592-7984
Peggy Bryan, Board executive secretary 549-3613, cell 710-7554
The Whitman County Library District was formed in 1945 with the goal of providing service to all residents throughout the vast reaches of our rural county. WCL’s dedicated staff has brought technology and innovation to our library district without sacrificing our most important mission: to provide you with the best and most modern library services possible. Fourteen branch libraries provide quality services to over 10,000 cardholders. Residents can access the library twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week through our website, place book orders on-line and have them delivered to their front door or the nearest community library.
Hundreds of children regularly attend story time and juvenile library programs. Thanks to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation we provide much-improved Internet access and computing to over 400 customers each week. We do all of this at great value to Whitman County taxpayers. Our continued goal is to serve our citizens and communities with this bold approach to rural library services and a resolute sense of stewardship.
-Rebecca Dickerson, Trustee, Whitman County Library
Most recent previous board members
Teresa Myott 2009-2014
Jon Kehne 2003-2012
John Aune 1998-2011
Leslee Miller 2001-2010
Linda Fletcher 2001-2005
Ronald B. Webster 1997–2002
Anna-Maria Shannon 1999-2002
Dennis Ulrey 1998-2001
Mary Sue Thompson 1990-2000
Bob Wallace 1998-2000
Marilyn Bafus 1988-1998
Dorothy Smith 1991-1998
*Explanation of terms:
A trustee can serve a maximum of 2 terms of 5 yrs each. Filling any part of an un-expired term does not count as a term and can be in addition to the two full terms of service.