Bellingham Public Library serves the residents of Bellingham, Washington, circulating 1.6 million items annually to more than 47,000 registered cardholders. It is a department of the City of Bellingham and is funded by city taxes.
Materials may be checked out at six Bellingham Public Library locations. The Central Library is located in the Civic Center area of downtown Bellingham. The Fairhaven Branch is a Carnegie library which celebrated its 100th birthday in December 2004. The Barkley Branch opened in September 2008. We also offer the BTC Connection at the Bellingham Technical College Library, the WCC Connection at the Whatcom Community College Library, and the WWU Connection at Western Washington University Libraries.
Through a reciprocal use agreement, City of Bellingham residents also have access to the collections of the Whatcom County Library System and may borrow items from libraries worldwide via our Interlibrary Loan service. Bellingham Public Library participates in the One Card program, a project of Whatcom Libraries Cooperate. With the One Card program, anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Whatcom County can get a library card at every public or academic library county-wide.
In 2009, a study committee comprised of representatives from Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System released a Report Regarding the Potential for Annexation. They concluded that "current financial data shows that combining the two library systems would not result in achieving 'equal or better library service for less money if joined together as allowed by law.'" While the committee recommended continued, proactive exploration of ways for the two library systems to work together, they did not recommend any further study of annexation at this time. This recommendation was upheld by both libraries' Boards of Trustees.