Birch Bay Vogt Community Library

Community members discuss plans for a future Birch Bay Library.

The Vision

Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) is committed to expanding library services to the Birch Bay community. In April 2017, WCLS purchased property at 7948 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. In summer 2022, WCLS submitted a project scope change request to allocate the state grant to a renovation of the existing building on the property. This request was declined. Board members and library staff will now work with the community to consider other options to improve library services in Birch Bay.  

Current Status

In spring 2019, the Washington State Legislature provided $2 million in funding for the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library. At its Jan. 17, 2023, meeting, the Whatcom County Library System’s Board of Trustees learned the Washington State Department of Commerce has declined WCLS’s scope change request related to state funding for the Birch Bay Library. The previously approved $2 million state grant remains available, but it cannot be used for the proposal that would have reduced the size of the proposed Birch Bay Library. Board members and library staff will now work with the community to consider other options to improve library services in Birch Bay. Private donations will be critical. 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.

The Name

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.