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Dear History . . .

Write Your Letter to the Future

We are living in historic times, experiencing an event that will be studied for generations to come. Our county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, over the past year, especially how people have coped with extraordinary change, will be of great interest in the future. This experience has had a lasting impact on us all.

We, at Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System, invite you to document this history, your unique and valuable experience of it, in the form of a letter to the future.

Approved contributions are shared online in our digital archive.

Getting Started

Regardless of the form your letter takes, the richness is in the details. You might reflect on some or all of these questions (from the Library of Michigan) as you begin to pen your letter:

  • What changes have you personally experienced since this emergency began? 
  • What changes have you observed in your family, your friends, or your local community?
  • Are you a student or a teacher? Where and how do you normally attend school? Has this changed? How’s that going? Or is there a student or teacher in your family? How is the crisis affecting their schooling situation?
  • Do you typically work outside the home? What is your job normally like? What is it like right now? Are you still working, whether on-site or remotely? Why or why not? How’s that going?
  • Are you practicing social distancing? Why or why not? What are you doing? How is this affecting your relationships?
  • Has this crisis changed (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) any of your plans for day-to-day errands, travel, visiting, leisure activities, celebrations, religious activities, etc.?
  • What do you think about the actions of government leaders (local, state, national) in response to this crisis? 
  • What has been the most difficult thing for you personally about this crisis? Do you think there’s anything positive that may come from what’s happening?

When Your Letter is Finished

You may decide that your letter is personal and keep it for your own personal memory or family genealogy. Or we invite you to submit your letter for inclusion in a countywide, multimedia initiative to archive our community’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note that your name and personal contact information (if provided) will not be archived with this project or publicized.

There are two ways to submit your letter:

To: libraryadmin@cob.org
Subject line:  Dear History project

Please include the name of your city with your letter.

Bellingham Public Library
c/o Dear History project / Rebecca Judd
210 Central Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225

Please include the name of your city with your letter.


By submitting this letter, you agree:

  1. I agree that Bellingham Public Library, Whatcom County Library System, or other Peoples’ Perspective partners may make publicly accessible, either immediately or in the future, the material/files I’m submitting for this project.
  2. I am eighteen years old or older. Parents or legal guardians may agree to these terms on behalf of their children.
  3. I understand that material submitted must not violate any confidentiality, privacy, security or other laws. I agree not to submit material that contains sensitive personal information about other individuals, including personal health information.
  4. I give consent to Bellingham Public Library, Whatcom County Library System, or other Peoples’ Perspective partners to digitally reformat the collection or migrate existing digital content to new technical environments as appropriate for preservation and/or access purposes.
  5. I confirm that I own (or have legal authority over) the materials I am submitting. I agree to provide Bellingham Public Library, Whatcom County Library System, or other Peoples’ Perspective partners a perpetual royalty-free license to possess these materials.  I place no restrictions on their use or disposition.
  6. The election not to use the materials in the permanent archive or in promotional materials shall not affect the license granted under paragraph 5 of this Agreement.

Thank you for participating!