[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]The Kepler College Maggie A. Nalbandian Memorial Collection
By Denise Menton
The Maggie A. Nalbandian Memorial Library (“Maggie’s Library”) was the onsite astrological library at Kepler College from the time the college opened its doors in March 2000 through June 2021, when the college gave up its physical location. The library was christened the Maggie A Nalbandian Memorial Library in 2016, in honor of Maggie Nalbandian (1937–2015), who was one of the founders of Kepler College. Maggie Nalbandian was an astrologer, lecturer, counselor and teacher; she was the owner of the Astrology et al bookstore in Seattle, and the founder of NORWAC. Maggie Nalbandian had a vision of a university that would incorporate astrology into academia, and she was instrumental in making that vision a reality, thus leading to the formation of Kepler College. Having an astrological library for research and study was part of the original mission of Kepler College and continues to be part of its mission today.
When Kepler first began its journey in 1992, the founders put out a call to the astrological community for books. Many answered, including ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research), which donated its entire library. In the years that followed, numerous astrologers donated or bequeathed personal collections to the library, some with handwritten notes in the margins, which provided insights to future readers. Maggie’s Library developed into the largest publicly available collection of astrology books and center for astrological research in the Pacific Northwest. The collection contained over 2500 books, ephemera, periodicals and journals, as well as original research from legends like Marian March, Lois Rodden, Neil F. Michaelson and Robert Hand’s project Hindsight; there were self-published pamphlets from luminaries like Dane Rudhyar, as well as works by astrologers who had never published a book. There were also tools which predated computer software programs such as compucharts, transparencies, chart overlays and forms that student and astrologers could use to further their study and research. Enid Newberg, former college President, Trustee and now Kepler’s Librarian, comments that astrology is a serious study, and astrologers deserve to know the depth and breadth of our astrological history. “There’s nothing quite like actively engaging oneself in the tactile experience of searching for a book, and then immersing oneself in the magic that unfolds.”
The library was initially located in Lynwood, Washington, but went into storage after Kepler College was unable to get accredited as a liberal arts college and closed its physical campus. In 2015, Dr. Jenn Zahrt, then a member of the Board of Trustees, reestablished the library at a new location in Kirkland, Washington. In a podcast interview with Shannon Garcia, then the owner of the Mountain Astrologer, Dr. Zahrt talked about her experience of collecting, unpacking and cataloguing all the boxes of stored books with fellow board member, astrologer Wonder Bright and assisted by Maggie’s son Greg Nalbandian (listen to the interview here https://soundcloud.com/mountainastro/004-kepler-library). Jenn said: “As we were unpacking the books, it was like taking all the astrologers who had ever been published, and they were having a party. It was like visiting old friends and also having a cacophony of voices …heated discussions that you get into at conferences…books screaming at other books and the entire space was filled with all of our lore, all of our techniques and all of the recorded past of our history. There were moments when we were moved to tears as we were unpacking…it was the ultimate living room of astrology books.” In 2016, Kepler College moved the library back to Lynwood, Washington to the new physical location it had opened to serve its burgeoning certificate and diplomas. Enid Newberg served as the guardian of the library until its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June 2020, Kepler College sold Maggie’s Library to CAELi, where it continues to live on as a core component of CAELi’s holdings.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]