University Archivist and Curator of Special Library Collections
Kerstin Ringdahl was born in Landskrona, Sweden. Her father had a bookstore and her mother was a home maker. She has one brother and one sister. After finishing high school, Kerstin worked as an au pair in London, England and also attended classes at a Cambridge University affiliate. During vacation in Scotland, she met her future husband, Jack Henderson. They lived in Augsburg, Germany for 3 ½ years where Kerstin worked in the Army library.
After they moved to Tacoma, Kerstin started work for the Pierce County library with the Bookmobile which was a perfect way to learn all about Pierce County. When PLU advertised for an assistant to the librarian who could “project the Scandinavian image of the university in the new library”, Kerstin applied and got the position. She first worked at the Inquiries Desk where she greeted visitors to Mortvedt Library and gave directional information.
After divorce, she resigned but came back and joined the Circulation department that was then called Distributive Services and she became Associate Director. She worked from 3:30 until midnight and attended classes during the day. At that time she also changed from Mrs. Henderson to Kerstin Ringdahl, her maiden name. She later became director of the department which at that time included all audiovisual services and the newly established Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection. Before graduating with a degree in Scandinavian Studies, she spent six months in Sweden studying literature at Lund University and working at Juridicum, the university’s law library. Kerstin also has attended and earned a certificate from University of Washington in the Archives and Records Management program.
When the university archives was transferred from the president’s office to the library, Kerstin became the university’s archivist and curator of the Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection as well as the Region I archives for the Evangelical Lutheran Church, a position she still holds. A highlight from her work with Scandinavian literature and immigration was, when she was one of ten librarian/archivists in the United States chosen to attend a week long seminar in Norway sponsored by the Nordic Council.
After “retiring” Kerstin has worked part-time and for a time spent the summer months in Sweden where she owned a small cottage and also worked as a group leader for Elderhostel. This last position included travel to all the Scandinavian countries including Iceland and Greenland.
Kerstin enjoys reading, watching movies, going to lectures, traveling, gardening, visiting with friends, knitting and sewing.