Alix Prior is the new manager of the Ferndale Library. She succeeds Sarah Koehler who retired earlier this summer after 25 years with the Whatcom County Library System. As manager of the 15,000-square-foot, city-owned library building, Prior works with a team of 24 staff members to deliver library services to the Ferndale community.
“Alix’s professional background and her personal affinity for library work make her well-suited for this position,” says Whatcom County Library System Executive Director Christine Perkins. “Her experience leading teams, overseeing facilities, managing projects, and providing direct services through a trauma-informed lens aligns with needs at the Ferndale Library and is sure to inform our strategic goal to serve everyone in our communities equitably. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the library system and hope Ferndale residents will drop by the library to say hello.”
Prior earned her undergraduate degree at Western Washington University and a master’s degree in social work from Portland State University. She held a variety of roles supporting programs that provide shelter to individuals and families in Portland, Ore. She also worked for four years as the director of SafeChoice, a domestic violence program in Vancouver, Wash. Prior moved to Ferndale in November 2021 and had been working as a housing programs coordinator with the Opportunity Council.
“I grew up going to the library,” she says. “And before starting as manager, I visited the Ferndale Library at least once a week with my son.” A fan of historical fiction, Prior’s favorite library services include the Libby app, children’s programs and pre-school learning kits.
She adds that library services play an integral role in meeting community needs and providing a safe haven. “Beyond reading and literature, the library provides access to information, technology and research,” she says. “The library has a significant role in community development. By bringing people together in a public space open to all, we create opportunities for families and individuals to learn and grow. And we strengthen the community with programs and other services.”
Prior looks forward to engaging with the Ferndale community. “I want to learn and to be active in community growth,” she says. “I want to hear what Ferndale needs and to evaluate how the library can serve those needs.” Her community activities include serving on the board of Ferndale Community Services.