Our Story

Library lawn and back of building at dusk

Mission Statement

Connecting our community with each other and the world to
read, learn, meet and discover

About the Bellingham Public Library

The Bellingham Public Library serves the residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County, circulating about 1.6 million items annually to more than 52,000 registered cardholders. Our library is known throughout the state and nation for its high use among community members. In state-wide data, Bellingham Public Library consistently ranks among the highest circulation per capita and among the most-visited.

Library operations are governed by the Library Board of Trustees, composed of five volunteer members appointed by the Mayor of Bellingham with the approval of the Bellingham City Council.

The library is a department of the City of Bellingham and receives the majority of its approximately $4.5 million in annual funding from the city’s general fund. Additional funding for materials, programs and special projects is provided by grants from the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library, in recent years totaling $50,000-$90,000 annually.

The Bellingham Public Library provides services throughout the community in three library locations: downtown’s Central Library, Fairhaven Branch Library and Barkley Branch Library. These locations also serve as community gathering places through our options for meeting room rentals. Additional services include holds pick-up and materials drop-off on three college campuses, and community drop boxes in several locations.

In addition to our many physical locations, our digital library services offer opportunities to download eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines, conduct research, use our library catalog and much more.

We also provide programs, classes and special events for all ages, and we are particularly proud to offer more than a dozen storytimes each week, fun and engaging early literacy classes taught by childhood education experts. We also are out in the community regularly, providing library services at some community events and care centers.

We share a library catalog and electronic management system with Whatcom County Library System, allowing patron access to the collections of both libraries which provides convenient, consistent services to all our communities. Bellingham Public Library also participates in a collaborative program that allows anyone who lives, works or attends school in Whatcom County to get a library card at area academic libraries.

A-Z List of Services

Strategic Plan 2013-2017

Library Services in the Community 2015

History

Our Library by the Numbers

In 2016, the Bellingham Public Library:

  • Circulated almost 1.6 million items
  • Welcomed more than 800,000 visits
  • Hosted more than 37,000 program participants
  • Registered more than 7,000 new library cardholders

Recent Annual Reports