WCLS staff win Washington Library Association award for their service to migrant farmworker community

Whatcom County Library System staff members Diana Antaño, Evie Harman and Amelia Martinez won a Washington Library Association Merit Award for Outstanding Service at the state organization’s spring 2023 conference. The trio was honored for an innovative partnership that provided library services to Lynden and Everson’s migrant farmworker community. 

In summer 2022, Antaño, Harman and Martinez expanded a previous trial program that delivered library services at the work camps in the agricultural areas surrounding Everson and Lynden. The team partnered with the Viviendo Bien (Living Well) program organized by Vamos Outdoors Project and the Northwest Educational Services District – with support from the Lynden School District – to offer a weekly summer reading program for 60 children at two camps. They also stocked a Little Free Library established by WCLS at the largest camp. Their efforts strengthened the connection between the Whatcom County Library System and the farmworkers who live in Whatcom County. 

During the visits, the library staff read books, shared stories and led craft activities. They also distributed Summer Reading cards and hosted a pop-up library where the young readers could check out books. Thanks to the financial support of WECU and the Whatcom County Library Foundation, each child also received a book to keep. Antaño, Harman and Martinez plan to continue the program this summer.  

“We are tremendously proud of Diana, Evie and Amelia and grateful that WLA recognized their important work with a prestigious Merit Award for Outstanding Service,” says WCLS Executive Director Christine Perkins. “They are a dynamic team, combining their community connections, organizational skills and years of experience to create an outstanding program that introduced migrant families to their local library and encouraged young readers to engage with library staff and services.”  

Antaño and Martinez are public services assistants and cultural liaisons at the Everson and Lynden libraries, respectively. As Spanish-language speakers, the duo provide meaningful connections to and develop library programs for Whatcom County’s Hispanic communities. Antaño has worked at the Everson Library for four years. Martinez has been at the Lynden Library for 13 years. Harman is a youth services assistant at the Everson and Sumas libraries and has worked with WCLS for 14 years.  

The Washington Library Association (WLA) is a membership organization that advocates for library services. The WLA Merit Awards recognize and highlight the outstanding work ongoing in Washington libraries. Learn more at wla.org.  

About WCLS: Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) serves county residents who live outside the city limits of Bellingham with 10 library branches, two library express locations, a bookmobile and robust online services. WCLS circulates more than 2 million items annually. Residents have access to WCLS’s rich collection, including books in print and digital formats, music and movies and online digital services. Library system staff plan and host inspiring events for every age. Experience “The Power of Sharing” by visiting in person or online at wcls.org.