WCLS brainstorming next steps for Birch Bay Library (The Northern Light, Feb. 23, 2022)
Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) is committed to expanding library services to the Birch Bay community. In April 2017, WCLS purchased property at 7968 Birch Bay Drive for a proposed full-service library to replace WCLS Bookmobile service to Birch Bay. The library project was designed with community input. A ballot measure to build the proposed library narrowly missed passage by the required 60 percent supermajority in the November 2021 and February 2022 elections. Supporters are now considering next steps.
The official name of the new library, if built, would be the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library in honor of the original family who homesteaded this area, and their descendants who sold the property to WCLS. This is in keeping with the Everson McBeath Community Library, named for a former mayor of Everson. The Birch Bay site is on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples. WCLS staff are working closely with Lummi Nation to protect cultural artifacts beneath the site and to honor Lummi Nation’s enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
In spring 2019, the Washington State Legislature provided $2 million in funding for the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library. The estimate for the total cost of the project, including the purchase of the land, was $6.5 million to build a 7,600-square-foot library. Supporters with Friends of the Birch Bay Library have secured donations that — coupled with the $2 million state appropriation — reduced the total amount still needed to approximately $4.5 million. Thank you to bp for leading private giving with their generous $100,000 donation in 2019. To learn more and get involved, consider joining the Friends of Birch Bay Library.