By Debby Farmer
For another year the Blaine Public Library successfully lived up to the Whatcom County Library System’s (WCLS) mission: “Connecting information, ideas and community.” With close to 400,000 items in the WCLS collection, and an even greater number available from the Bellingham Public Library System, plus access to collections and services from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide, this connection made possible over 220,000 checkouts from the Blaine branch.
New in 2014 was the free access to the Microsoft IT Academy, with courses from basic word processing to those designed for an IT professional. Librarians were available 24/7 to answer any question through the online chat service AskWA. These resources and more became easier than ever to access by using the library’s new mobile app, Library Now.
Almost 1,000 local community members signed up for a library card in 2014. Furthermore, residents and visitors to the community enjoyed free high-speed internet while at the library, and those without laptops or smart devices took advantage of the seven public computer stations, logging close to 16,000 sessions for the year.
The Blaine library offered a huge variety of public classes, presentations and events. Kids flocked to everything from slumber parties, presentations from local rescue workers and technological tutorials, while adults enjoyed gardening seminars and learning the therapeutic benefits of Reiki massage.
The library continued to be significantly enhanced by the efforts of the Friends of the Blaine Library. President Carroll Solomon, vice president/treasurer Sandra Bogen, co-secretaries Theresa Pomeroy and Elisabeth Angell and directors Pat Kingshott, Clare Nurre, David Gallion and Carol Macmillan led the way in support of the Blaine library in the community. Special congratulations went to Shirley and Ron Spanjer, as this year’s Outstanding Service Honorees, selected from among all the WCLS Friends of Libraries.
By far the biggest physical event of the year occurred in August, when a local resident accidentally drove into the north wall of the library building, leaving a large hole, but miraculously no one was injured. While this was indeed an unfortunate occurrence, the overwhelming recommendation from library patrons was to use it as the beginning of an expansion project. The wall was repaired, but the momentum of support for a new or expanded Blaine library continued and is sure to carry over into 2015. Stay tuned!