March is National Women’s History Month, and the Bellingham Public Library has a fantastic assortment of materials to bring women’s life stories, achievements, and challenges to light. Celebrate and learn at the Library.
Spotlight on Women in Music: featuring Classical Women Composers Collection
Visit the Central Library during the month of March and check out the “Women in Music: featuring our Classical Women Composers Collection” display for great music and books by or about female musicians. Whether you love classical, country, hip hop or punk rock, we’ve got something for you!
Classical Women Composers List
Purchased with a generous donation from library patron Catherine Rae Sheldon, so that others may discover and enjoy the many overlooked works by women composers of classical music, this special music collection is definitely one to enjoy during Women’s History Month and all year long.
Read more about female composers and the Classical Women Composers collection here.
Women in Music Playlist on Freegal
Use your library card to access Freegal and stream music for free anytime. BPL’s Women in Music playlist is full of great songs by incredible female artists throughout the years. Click the link above to give it a listen.
Women’s History Books for Adults
Women are trailblazers, visionaries, mothers, doctors, politicians, activists, artists, sports figures, and much more. Their stories reflect the challenges they’ve faced throughout history, as well as their achievements and contributions.
To start your reading adventure, take a look at this recently updated list of staff recommended books on Women’s History. Then use the library catalog’s “advance search” feature to narrow down your specific needs, and to also find e-books, e-audiobooks, and audiobook CDs.
Library Staff Recommend:
52 Women of Whatcom compiled by the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County
“Compiled by the League of Women Voters. Very interesting stories of local ladies who contributed their talents in developing and contributing to local schools, colleges, hospitals, museums and culture.” – Donna, Branch Library Specialist
The Women With Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck
“An amazing story of the desire to serve and the fight for well-deserved recognition.” – Tim, Security Attendant
Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer
“I was originally drawn to this book since I, like many, am always saying something along the lines of “text me when you get home” to my friends. I love how Schaefer uses both sociological and personal lenses to examine the evolution of female friendship throughout time. Schaefer looks at the role female friendships have played culturally throughout time and also through an individual’s lifetime. While reading I found myself reflecting on and celebrating my own friendships.” – Marissa, Public Services Clerk
Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America by Charlotte S. Waisman and Jill S. Tietjen
“Though much of the historical record ignores women’s achievements through American history, women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men from the very beginning. Her Story is a vivid documentation of those achievements since 1587.” – Rob, Public Services Librarian
Adult Fiction Featuring Women’s Stories
Library Staff Recommend:
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
“This book takes place during the Great Depression and is set in Texas and California in the time of the Dust Bowl. I loved this book because it demonstrates the struggle of the time while always showcasing the strength of the main character, Elsa. This book made me feel ALL the feels.” – Andrea, Library Assistant
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
“The book is about a young woman working through grief and personal issues in New York City in the year 2000. She attempts to sleep her way through a year of her life with the assistance of a zealous physician’s prescriptions. Ottessa Moshfegh is one of my favorite authors and her characters always simultaneously draw me in and repulse me. I would also recommend Eileen by her which is currently being adapted to film.” – James, Library Assistant
Also by Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World and Death in Her Hands
Women’s History Books for Teens
Teen books are, of course, geared toward the 13-18 year old audience, but are frequently enjoyed by readers of all ages. We encourage you to take a look at this great list of titles and staff recommendations whether you’re a teen or an adult.
Library Staff Recommend:
Photographic by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña
“Graciela Iturbide captures the surrealism, absurdity, and magic of every day in her stunning black and white photography. This graphic biography creatively weaves Peña’s illustrations in with Iturbide’s photography and her philosophies of life and art. She’s an important figure in art history, Mexican history, and women’s history who I wish I had learned about earlier!” – Ariana, Public Services Clerk
Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Annie Boochever, with Roy Peratrovich, Jr.
“Elizabeth Peratrovich, Tlingit civil rights icon, was indeed a fighter; a fighter and activist for equal rights. Her work was pivotal to the territory of Alaska passing the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, which was America’s first civil rights legislation granting equal rights to Alaska Natives. This young activist, mother and wife fought tirelessly to end discrimination and segregation in Alaska. Her story of passion and fierce perseverance is told by Bellingham author Annie Boochever, in collaboration with Elizabeth’s eldest son, Roy Peratrovich Jr.” – Bethany, Head of Youth Services and Deputy Director
This is a teen book appropriate for teens and adults alike
Women’s History Books for Children
Enjoy stories featuring strong, smart, courageous and mighty girls.
Mighty Girls! List for Children
Library Staff Recommend:
Saving American Beach written by Heidi Tyline King, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
“This picture book biography about environmentalist, artist, and activist MaVynee Betsch—aka the Beach Lady—is stunning in every way. I could practically feel the salty breeze blowing out of the pages as I fell in love with this incredible woman’s story.” – Ali, Children’s Services Librarian
Recommended for ages 4+
What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski
“Anna moves to a new town and starts at a new middle school. She is intrigued why a formerly popular girl is now shunned. Anna does an investigative podcast to find out what happened and ends up exposing sexual harassment from her male classmates.” – Mandee, Children’s Services Specialist
Recommended for ages 11 and up
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar
“An inspiring biography about Pura Belpré’s life and dedication to bringing her abuela’s stories to life through colorful puppets and bilingual storytimes at the New York Public Library. But what about the shelves? Learn about Pura Belpré’s journey to bringing stories from Puerto Rico for everyone in the community to love and enjoy by becoming a children’s author.” – Bernice, Children’s Services Librarian
Each year the American Library Association recognizes outstanding works of literature by Latinx authors and illustrators with the Pura Belpré award. Here are past winners: https://www.ala.org/awardsgrants/awards/4/all_years
Recommended for ages 4 and up
Fighting for Yes! The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
“Judy Heumann is an amazing human, who has moved the rights of differently-abled people forward like no other person. From ramps and sidewalk curbs, to educational access and job opportunities, Judy’s story demonstrates determination and persistence. A book to savor and appreciate!” – Julie, Children’s Services Specialist
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Films and Documentaries featuring Women’s Stories
Browse the shelves or search the catalog to find films and documentaries featuring the lives of women and their stories.
To find eFilms and eDocumentaries, use your library card to sign up with Kanopy, the Library’s source for free online videos. Access them on your computer, mobile device or TV.
Historically, the contributions of women have often been underrepresented. As part of Women’s History Month, Kanopy has curated a collection of films that feature female innovators, pioneers, and trailblazers. To explore these titles, visit Kanopy #WomensHistoryMonth
Book Club Kits with a Focus on Women’s History
Do you participate in a local book group? The Bellingham Public Library has 190 book club kits for your group to choose from, including memoirs and biographies featuring girls and women throughout history as well as fictional stories. A book club kit contains 10 copies of the same title, and a reading guide that contains information about the book, the author, and questions for your group to discuss. Visit KitKeeper to browse the list of kit titles and make a reservation using your Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library card!
Forever a Woman Film Screening – Pickford Film Center
“Part of our WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH/CINEMA EAST series. Forever a Woman is sponsored by CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival. Introduced by series curator, Jeff Purdue.” – Pickford Film Center
Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival
Cascadia International Film Festival’s Mission:
- To present an annual international film festival showcasing films directed by women.
- To provide educational opportunities relating to the viewing, making, and distribution of films.
- To promote Bellingham, Whatcom County and the surrounding Pacific Northwest area as a destination for filmmakers and film enthusiasts.
Local Women in Action
League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County
BellingHistory with the Good Time Girls
Links for More Information
National Women’s History Museum
National Archives – Women’s History Month
National Women’s History Alliance
History Channel – Women’s History Month