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Library Giving Day

On behalf of the Bellingham Public Library Board of Trustees, our most sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in Library Giving Day, April 7, 2021.

This one-day online fundraising event gives library lovers like you a chance to celebrate and support the vital services libraries provide in our communities.

Online donations to Bellingham Public Library are collected through the Whatcom Community Foundation. Library Giving Day donations are held in an Unrestricted account to be utilized by the Library immediately.

What will Library Giving Day donations support at Bellingham Public Library in 2021?

Donations to Library Giving Day allow funding for items or projects that are not currently funded through the City of Bellingham’s budget for the Library. In 2020, we raised $1,694.19 to purchase mobile hot spots for our community.

Our goal for Library Giving Day 2021 is to elevate and increase access to diverse voices by purchasing additional Anti-Racist reading materials to meet the high demand, and investing in important Digital Storytelling projects to build community through sharing and listening.

Why are these projects important now?

The events of 2020 brought the overwhelming need for racial equity conversations into stark view on a national level, as well as at local level in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Our Library and our community immediately swung into action. Bellingham Public Library built a page on our website with timely local resources for Talking About Race, Ethnicity and Racism, including articles, books, podcasts, videos, websites and learning modules for adults and children.

We also implemented both an Anti-Racist Reading List and a Digital Storytelling project. The total number of digital checkouts for our Anti-Racist Reading List titles was 6,455, including 2,002 for How to be an Antiracist and 1,970 for White Fragility in 2020. The demand for these materials continues to be high. In Jan. and Feb. 2021, our Digital Storytelling project, titled The Unrooted Experience enlightened our local community through the unique personal voices of 5 local individuals. These videos had nearly 1,000 views on YouTube via BellinghamPublicLibrary.org.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg revealing the immense work to be done toward reconciliation and shared understanding, as we are witnessing in 2021 national news.

Help us expand these important projects to raise every voice in our community.

How will how will these projects help the Library meet its mission?

The mission of the Bellingham Public Library is “Connecting our community with each other and the world.” A key Strategic Direction is to bring people together for shared experiences that strengthen our understanding of each other.

What will be the benefit of these Library Giving Day projects?

These initiatives will help the library provide authentic connections that strengthen our understanding of each other’s diverse experiences to reduce divisions and feelings of exclusion.

Why should I be excited about giving?

Anti-Racist reading materials provide a foundation for better understanding across cultural groups in our community and Digital Storytelling provides a platform for shared experiences, listening and healing.

Bellingham Public Library Community Conversations Project

In 2018, BPL conducted a 3-month Community Conversations project, involving 343 people in group and individual conversations. We learned the following:

  • People want to be connected, safe, valued, respected and accepted by others, with opportunities to be engaged and ever-learning together.
  • But they are concerned that our community could be more inclusive, safe, and sustainable, with resources and opportunities more equitable and prevalent for all.
  • As people talk more about those concerns, they talk about the need for authentic connections that strengthen our understanding of each other’s diverse experiences, that bridge inequities in access to community resources and economic opportunity, and that reduce divisions and feelings of exclusion.
  • They say we need to focus on building a welcoming and safe community with well-funded public spaces, where relationships and connections can flourish, where reliable information is accessible to everyone, and where barriers to opportunity are acknowledged and reduced.
  • And if non-profits, faith-based organizations, people in leadership positions, our government, and our good and creative neighbors played a part in those actions, folks would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

Bellingham Public Library’s shared values include:

  • Belonging: We believe in the power of belonging. When people belong, they are more able to learn, connect, survive and thrive.
  • Equity: Libraries are powerful forces for community change by promoting equity, diversity and inclusion. We work to foster understanding and accessibility, and to ensure all people see themselves and our city’s diversity reflected in our collections, services and facilities.

See our Support Your Library page for ways you can support us all year long!