There’s a special place in Anita Sheneberger’s heart for the Sumner Pierce County Library.
The former youth services librarian for three years still keeps in touch with the staff there after retiring in 2014.
“It was good gig there,” said the 68-year-old. “I just really enjoyed working with the staff there and Friends of the Library.”
So much so, in fact, that when Sumner children’s librarian Rebecca Ryan and adult services librarian Laura Farrow came up with the idea of creating a community quilt, Sheneberger saw the opportunity to connect two of her favorite things: the library and quilting.
“A community quilt like this, where each block is assembled and hung to commemorate some event, has been around as long as people have been doing quilts,” Sheneberger said. “While this is nothing that elaborate or huge, this is kind of like a time capsule. It’s a time capsule in fabric.”
The quilt she helped sew together is now on display in Sumner.
Sheneberger has worked in libraries since she was 14. In the 1970s, she made her first quilt when she went away to college.
“I love fabric,” Sheneberger said. “If I have two addictions, it’s probably fabric and books.”
Last November, Farrow and Ryan formulated an idea for an inter-generational program and thought creating a community story quilt was a great idea.
According to the two librarians, inter-generational programs “increase bonding between young people and adults, help eliminate stereotypes, encourage new perspectives on different life stages and increase communication between people of different generations.”
“We thought it was a really nice marriage of all those components,” Farrow said.
On Nov. 18, 2017, adults and kids alike attended the event, decorating their own fabric squares to be a part of the quilt.
“(Farrow and Ryan) wanted it to be related to something that (community members) remembered about Sumner, or something they wanted to celebrate about Sumner, or a landmark,” Sheneberger said.
From rhubarb pie to daffodils, the Classy Chassis Car Show to the first-ever circus that came to Sumner in 1949, each quilt square reflects memories of Sumner.
In all, about 30 people had a hand in creating the quilt, with 30 total quilt squares. The story of each square was printed on a note card, along with the name of the artist.
The best part was listening to the conversations between different generations and their openness to share, Ryan and Farrow said.
“There was a lot of excitement and love for the city of Sumner,” Farrow said. “We have some great memories.”
All squares were given to Sheneberger to sew together, but a medical surgery delayed her creation of the quilt. It wasn’t completed until September, when it was finally displayed in the Sumner Pierce County Library.
“We love having it on our walls,” Farrow said.
It won’t stay there for long. Institutions in Sumner already have requested the quilt make a round to their facilities. Farrow and Ryan expect it to make an appearance at Sumner City Hall and the the Sumner Senior Center.
“It’s nice to have reminders that celebrate all these wonderful traditions,” Farrow said.