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Road to Reopening Bellingham Public Library

Bellingham Public Library has received a “Certificate of Substantial Completion” for the Central Branch main floor remodel project. This designation allows Library staff to complete several additional tasks required for reopening the Central Library in late spring 2021. At the same time, the Library will continue to provide Curbside Holds Pickup Service, remote Help Desk, and online content.

“Completion of the remodel work is a huge accomplishment, and we wish to again thank the entire Public Works team, Tiger Construction, and RMC Architects,” said Library Director, Rebecca Judd. “Our staff is eager to occupy the new space, and prepare for the day we can welcome the public inside once again.”

When will Bellingham Central Library Reopen?

Bellingham Public Library plans to reopen the Central Library in late spring for limited in-person services.

Over the next several weeks, continuing work to prepare for reopening at the Central Library will include: finishing the public elevator replacement, moving Library collections and staff work spaces back into appropriate locations, and installing new technology for staff and public computers. It is a sequential process, requiring each step to take place before the next.

Additional Reopening Projects

Public Elevator

The public elevator, which provides access between the main floor adult collections and the lower level Children’s Library is being replaced as a separate project. Elevator project completion is currently scheduled for early April.

Collections Work

While continuing to observe social distancing and safety protocols, Library staff is methodically moving books and collections back into their permanent homes on the Library’s main floor.

“Moving our collections work is a bit like a sliding puzzle with only one empty hole – one piece has to move before the next can take its place,” explained Jen Vander Ploeg, Head of Public Services and Operations.

Staff workspace

During our remodel project, the Children’s Library on the lower level was cleared to allow room for staff to operate our Curbside Holds Pickup Service. The completion of new work spaces on the main floor allow staff to move desks and chairs up one level, and will also allow the IT Service Department to install the staff computers, phones and printers. A new sorting room will be set up and begin operating with an Automated Materials Handler to sort books and materials more efficiently. And the Children’s Library will be put back together, including returning books and materials to their permanent locations.

Technology Installation

Installation of new technology systems will be the next priority for the IT Service Department after the staff equipment is set up and running.  This includes the public computer workstations (pictured below), self-checkout stations, public printer/copiers, catalog and database stations. 

New public computer stations awaiting technology installation at Bellingham Public Library

For more details see Bellingham Central Library main floor remodel underway – Bellingham Public Library.

Why are Fairhaven and Barkley Branches Closed?

The Curbside Holds Pickup Service at the Bellingham Central Library is continuing to function at full capacity, with 2,000 appointments per week. This service requires all available library staff to operate it, including those who normally work at the Fairhaven and Barkley branches.

Media Contact:
Rebecca Judd, Director, Bellingham Public Library, 360-778-7220 or rejudd@cob.org

Annette Bagley, Bellingham Public Library, 360-778-7206 or ambagley@cob.org