Community discusses plans for Birch Bay Library

Community members provided input on preliminary designs for the Birch Bay Library at an August 18 meeting hosted by the WCLS. Photos by Mathew Roland

By Mathew Roland

The public recently gave input on three floor plans proposed for the new Birch Bay Library at a design meeting at 7968 Birch Bay Drive, the site of the new library.

Architects from Zervas Architecture and representatives from the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) presented floor plans at the August 18 meeting that were developed based on community input from two prior meetings. All three of the proposals incorporated the existing house structure. The outbuildings on site will be removed to make room for the new building and parking, WCLS deputy director, Michael Cox said. The plans have space for children, teens and adults as well as a lounge, computer lab, multimedia space, checkout desk, study nooks, staff space and sever room.

“One of the spaces that I am excited about is the lobby because we envision what we call a library express,” Cox said. “That means even when the library is closed people will be able to use their library card to open the door and gain access to the lobby where they can pick up their holds and check them out at a computer. Or pick up a phone and get remote staff assistance if needed. That way we can bring more library access to the community.”

All designs moved the parking lot to the back of the property, which was important to the community to maintain views.

“The discussion was a lot of tweaking and maybe changing the size of a particular area but overall I really felt as though people were behind all three of the designs,” Cox said.

Photo by Mathew Roland

Terry Brown of Zervas Architects helped develop the design plans for the library.

He said, “the key is to dial it down to get as many things just right as possible. That’s the beauty of something like this today, you just get so many good ideas and the challenge is to fit those all into one final plan.”

Community members will have more chances to be involved, with plenty of fundraising opportunities planned for the future, said Dianne Mars-Smith, president of Friends of Birch Bay Library.

“We have got some small fundraisers that we are starting to work on, one is a book sale around the holiday season,” she said. “Next year we plan to have a fundraising dinner.”

If you missed the meeting, there is still an opportunity to give your input on the library designs. You can take a survey online at

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