We are grateful for the many hours our volunteers devote during their lives to supporting Bellevue Friends of the Library, and in turn, the numerous programs that Bellevue Friends of the Library supports. Below are recent volunteers we hold in our memories.

Barbara Ann "Barb" Chambers (1933 – 2022)

Barbara Ann "Barb" Chambers grew up in Texas, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University, then returned home to Texas to marry her sweetheart from down the street, Tom Chambers. Barb and Tom raised four children, and ultimately settled in Bellevue. Barb worked for Safeco Insurance, advancing to become one of the first female Commercial Underwriters. She finished her career as a senior Home Office Underwriter.

Barb sought new challenges in retirement by volunteering, first with the Washington State Attorney General's office and later with the Bellevue Friends of the Library. Barb was an avid reader and enjoyed interacting with people, so working at the Corner Book Shop was natural for her, rather like a kid in a candy store.

You can view Barb's full obituary here.

Shirley Marshall (1922 – 2020)

The Corner Book Shop opened on the same day as the new Bellevue Library in 1993. Shirley was a member of the very first Corner Book Shop committee along with Phyllis Swick and Mary Hickey. 

Shirley helped organize the first volunteer orientation in June 1993 and served as volunteer coordinator during the first years of the shop. During the following years, she remained actively involved with the Corner Book Shop and with the Bellevue Friends. She held several board positions, including Member at Large in 1997 and President in 1999 – 2001. She was honored with the KCLS Hall of Fame award in 2002. She continued to support the Friends with her membership during the years that followed.

We honor her for her cheerful service, her dedicated commitment to BFOL, and the outstanding contribution she made to the organization.


Bill Ptacek (1950 – 2019)

Bill was appointed Director of KCLS in 1989, a few years before the new Bellevue Library opened at Ashwood Plaza in 1993. He remained in this position until 2014. During that time, KCLS expanded to become one of the busiest library systems in the US. It was one of the first systems to adopt a computerized catalog and to provide internet access. Under Bill’s leadership, our libraries became community centers offering not just books, but a variety of programs and services. He left KCLS to become CEO of the Calgary Public Library in Alberta, Canada

During the design phase of the new Bellevue Library in the early 1990s, he worked with the Friends to get space for the Corner Book Shop and the Marking Room. In the words of one long-time Bellevue Friend, “Bill truly was the heart and soul of the King County Library System and a huge supporter of the BFOL.”


Marie McClure

As a long-time member and volunteer for Bellevue Friends of the Library, Marie was dedicated to supporting her community. Marie enjoyed working in The Corner Book Shop, and was known and appreciated by volunteers and regular patrons alike. As a former teacher, avid reader, and wonderful story teller, volunteering in The Corner Book Shop was a perfect fit for Marie where she would encourage young readers, recommend books to patrons of all ages, and share stories bringing laughter and smiles to all. Marie promoted Bellevue Friends of the Library to her friends and neighbors, often calling people during the annual Holiday Sale to encourage them to attend and support a great cause. We remember Marie's outstanding service and dedication to Bellevue Friends of the Library and miss her presence in The Corner Book Shop.

Betty Heckendorn

Betty was a long-time Bellevue Friends of the Library member and volunteer, volunteering for more than 40 years. During her tenured membership, Betty also served on the BFOL Board and was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award. A lady of great integrity, Betty was dedicated to doing the best job she could both to honor the generosity of our donors and to support the goals of the library. She was instrumental in creating and sustaining BFOL's year-round book sales, starting with pricing and stocking a single book cart, often single-handedly, through the 1980s and until the new Bellevue Library opened in 1993. Betty was meticulous in her assessment and preparation of donated books, and continued volunteering in the Marking Room through 2017. We miss Betty's quiet, steady presence in the Marking Room, and remember her for her truly outstanding dedication to Bellevue Friends of the Library and to the libraries we serve.