2017 Jack D. Rittenhouse Award

PubWest Announces 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award
to Honor Chuck and Dee Robinson

robinsons_villagebooksPubWest has awarded its 2017 Jack D. Rittenhouse Award to Chuck and Dee Robinson, owners of Village Books in Fairhaven (Bellingham) and Lynden, Washington.

The Rittenhouse Award was established in 1990 as a way to thank and honor those who have made a real contribution to the western community of the book. The award is given annually in memory of Jack D. Rittenhouse, the West’s legendary bookman.

“The PubWest board of directors looks forward each year to choosing the recipient of the Jack D. Rittenhouse Award,” said board president Katie Burke. “Since 1990, we’ve honored many different facets of the publishing industry by recognizing publishers, retailers, educators, and writers. This year it is a distinct pleasure to celebrate the contributions Dee and Chuck Robinson have given to the industry as consummate booksellers for more than thirty years.”

The Robinsons accepted the Rittenhouse Award during PubWest 2017, which took place from February 9–11, 2017, at The Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

2017 Rittenhouse Award recipients Chuck and Dee Robinson with Kalen Landow and Kent Watson

Chuck and Dee Robinson opened Village Books in Fairhaven (Bellingham), Washington, in 1980. As active, engaged owners customers could often find one or both of them working the sales floor. Dee was active in all aspects of the business, and after Paper Dreams original manager retired, took primary responsibility for building the gift side of the company.  She retired from actively working in the store in 2014, but has remained active in strategic issues, including planning the opening of the second store in Lynden in 2015.

Both Chuck and Dee served on PNBA board and taught at ABA booksellers schools. Dee served on ABA’s Booksellers Advisory Committee and Chuck on the ABA board including a stint as President from 1992 to 1994.

Of the store’s 300 events a year, many of those serving as fundraisers for the Whatcom (County) Literacy Council, North Cascades Institute, local PTSA’s, and many other organizations. As part of their mission to build community, the store even records many of their author events for local radio stations KMRE and KAVZ. Village Books has been instrumental in helping to break Western authors onto the national scene including Jonathan Evison, Stephanie Kallos, and Sherman Alexie.

The Robinsons serve as producers and hosts for the Chuckanut Radio Hour, a variety show-format that has been on the radio since 2007 and they have been instrumental in the success of Whatcom Reads and various literacy programs and efforts throughout their community. They run a summer day camp for kids (Camp Village Books) and Chuckanut Writers Conference with Whatcom Community College. Village Books was named the Washington State Outstanding Philanthropic Business in 2008.

About PubWest: PubWest is a non-profit trade association for North American book publishers, from small independent presses to publishing companies with worldwide operations, and related professionals, such as printers, designers, binderies, and publishing freelancers. For more information, please visit www.pubwest.org.

The PubWest Board of Directors selects a Rittenhouse Award recipient each year, and the award presentation takes place during the annual PubWest Conference.

See a list of past recipients of the Rittenhouse Award.