WCLS’s new strategic plan says it all: READ (Reading, Engagement, Access, and Diligent stewardship), and you can read more about it in the 2016 Annual Report. Last year our staff promoted reading and using the library at every opportunity. Every staff member was invited to “Reading Conversations” training so we all know how to “talk books” with anyone at any time. We worked with a local marketing firm to engage new users in novel ways – did you take the #BookBrainChallenge? We played “Book Bingo” for Summer Reading and rewarded readers with…you guessed it, books!
We improved access to library services by launching a new website to make it easier to find and use digital services like Zinio eMagazines, the Washington Anytime Library for eBooks and eAudiobooks, and Consumer Reports. We added Sunday hours at the Lynden Library and a comfortable sofa in the Everson Library children’s area so that parents and children could cuddle up and stay awhile. We piloted the ConnectED program, creating library accounts for every student in the Mount Baker School District! We also began circulating American Girl dolls to children across Whatcom County. And we did all this while continuing to be diligent stewards of taxpayer dollars, ending the year under budget.
The Whatcom County Library Foundation (WCLF) granted funds to support the Summer Reading program, Books for Babies initative, Whatcom READS, and funded the Juvenile Detention Center Book Club. WCLF hosted a discussion on how to be “media mentors” and a workshop for parents and educators on supplementing print with digital materials. The WCLF Endowment grew to over $83,000 through gifts and transfers, and their annual fundraiser, Branch Out, earned more than $20,000 to support libraries and reading in Whatcom County.