Nov. 7 is big day of festivities at all local library branches

WHATCOM — On Nov. 7, 1944, the citizens of Whatcom County said yes to the power of stories by voting to form what is today the Whatcom County Library System. In celebration of this 75th anniversary, all county libraries will host special activities on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Drop by any WCLS branch — or branches — for cupcakes while they last, 1940s-themed activities and historical displays. Hours and events vary by branch. Visit wcls.org/75 for full details.

One forward-looking event takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 6. A celebration will be from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Birch Bay Bookmobile stop and future home of the Birch Bay Library, 7968 Birch Bay Drive. Enjoy cupcakes, coffee and hot chocolate. Share library stories and hear updates on the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library project, currently in development.

This is the varied activity by library location on Thursday, Nov. 7:

  • Lynden Library, 216 Fourth St., 2 to 6 p.m. There will be music, a photo booth, a scavenger hunt, 1944 trivia and other fun activities. Take a look at photo albums from past years and share your library stories.
  • Everson Library, 104 Kirsch Dr., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Experience a 1940s library retro-desk complete with a rotary phone and old-fashioned typewriter. Take a picture posing with the props. Stroll through “Museum-for-a-Day” artifacts and memorabilia. View pictures and a timeline to learn the history of the Everson Library. From 2 to 8 p.m., there will be refreshments and community storytelling and memory sharing through narratives, dance and music. Storytellers include Gretchen Hoyt, Satpal Sidhu, Michael Zawistowski, Holly Bevan-Bumford, Reg Wilford, Claudette Sterk, Hilda Hooper, Sage Waters, Amy Ryan, Scandinavian fiddlers, Nooksack drummers and swing dancers.
  • Sumas Library, 461 Second St., noon to 9 p.m. Drop by for cupcakes, raffle prizes and fun activities for all ages. A 1940s-themed swing dance starts at 7 p.m. and features big band The Swing Connection. Dress up for the dance in your best 1940s-inspired attire and/or share a favorite 1940s-inspired dessert for a chance to be crowned fan favorite in either category. Winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m.
  • Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Highway, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Expect special 1940s-themed activities and treats. Attend between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for live entertainment and a community potluck. 
  • Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St., 3 to 7 p.m.  Festivities include music, a photo booth, a scavenger hunt and other fun.
  • Blaine Library, 610 Third St., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Celebrate with cupcakes and punch, music and news from 1944, a photo prop and a fun craft activity. Library history from past years will be on display and feel free to share your favorite library stories.
  • See the new Bookmobile at its Wickersham stop (Royer Street) from 3 to 5 p.m., then at Lake Samish (water district office) from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • North Fork Library, 7506 Kendall Rd., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Experience the year 1944 with festivities, themed activities and light refreshments. Take part in an interactive art installation to answer the question: What will libraries be like 75 years in the future?
  • Island Library, 2144 S. Nugent Rd., Lummi Island, 2 to 8 p.m. Celebrate WCLS’s 75th birthday with special activities, cake and beverages.  
Library catalogs

Card catalogs tracked library collections before digital. (Courtesy photo/WCLS)

The Nov. 7 parties are among the closing events of the year-long celebration of WCLS. Earlier this year, staff compiled Books that Suit You, 52 weeks of book recommendations revealed each week on WCLS’ social media and website. They also created Read & Share, a countywide book group featuring “My Old Man and the Mountain” by Leif Whittaker. The author — son of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mount Everest — shared the inspiring story of his family at numerous public events, which continue through Nov. 16. A new bookmobile hit the road in June, just in time to be showcased in six community summer parades.

At a Nov. 9 reception, WCLS will honor 75 Library Champions who made significant contributions to the library system. To ensure WCLS’ rich history lives on, staff recorded library patron stories and scanned memorabilia for the Washington Rural Heritage website’s digital collection. Read more at wcls.org/75.

What was formed by the voters on Nov. 7, 1944, was the 12th library taxing district in Washington state. Championed by leaders from rural grange halls, the district was overwhelmingly approved by local citizens. Once created, a bookmobile began traveling Whatcom County back roads to deliver books to residents and school children. Library branches opened soon after.

Today, the WCLS system circulates more than 2 million items annually through 10 branches (with an 11th at Birch Bay in the works), the bookmobile, and a Library Express location at WCLS headquarters on Northwest Drive in the central county. Residents have access to WCLS’s rich and curated collection of books in print and digital formats, music and movies, and online digital services as well as fun events designed for every age, and public meeting spaces available for community use. Visit in person or online at WCLS.org.