FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 7, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT:
Annette Bagley
Bellingham Public Library
ambagley@cob.org
(360) 778-7206

Whatcom County Libraries Kick Off Annual Summer Reading Program

The annual Summer Reading program for kids, teens and adults is underway at local public libraries. Pick up a Summer Reading card at Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library System branches or download a card at the library systems’ websites, bellinghampubliclibrary.com/summer-reading or wcls.org/summer-reading. Cards are available in English, Punjabi, Russian and Spanish languages. The library systems’ Summer Reading program ends Aug. 31, 2022.

This year, community partner WECU will help to spread the word about Summer Reading. Thanks to the financial support of WECU, Friends of Bellingham Public Library, Friends of Whatcom County Library System groups and Whatcom County Library Foundation, young readers in Bellingham and Whatcom County will receive a free book at Summer Reading events.

“WECU is thrilled to be a part of the Summer Reading program this year,” said Keith Mader Program Manager PR & Content at WECU. “As a credit union founded by Bellingham Teachers, we understand the impact a vibrant summer reading program can have on a community. It is our hope that through our financial support, more children are inspired to read throughout the summer and able to hit the ground running when school starts up again.”

Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System team up each year to provide summer reading engagement. There are two cards – one for readers of all ages and one for young children who are not yet reading. The front of each card is illustrated with stepping stones that participants can fill in however they like to track their summer reading. Side two of the pre-reader card features five early reading practices (reading, singing, talking, playing and writing) adults can follow to help young people in their lives to develop a love of reading. The back of the reader card has suggestions on how to participate in Summer Reading 2022. Readers will find inspiration on the library systems’ websites and social media accounts.

“Summer Reading is a great opportunity for the community to stay immersed in stories and information of their choosing over the summer,” said Bethany Hoglund, deputy director of Bellingham Public Library. “The Library is here to help. We want to support whatever each individual goal is for kids, teens and adults, and keep everyone’s brains active and engaged. We truly appreciate all the partners who help make Summer Reading possible.”

“Summer reading is all about the joy of reading,” said Thom Barthelmess, youth services manager at the Whatcom County Library System. “We want young people to know that reading belongs to them, that they can choose what and how they read. The reward is that at the end of the summer, adults and young people will discover that reading is one of the most meaningful activities we can undertake.”

Barthelmess and Hoglund stress that summer reading isn’t just about opening the pages of a book. “You can listen to a book, browse magazine articles, or watch movies and documentaries. It all counts,” Hoglund said. “And you can access all these resources for free at the library.”

The library systems also offer free activities to add to the Summer Reading experience.

Bellingham Public Library will host outdoor Library Parties in parks for children (birth to teenagers) where young readers will receive a free book, have a chance to talk with library staff about books, take a StoryWalk® and participate in other reading-inspired activities. The free events are 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 22 at Squalicum Park, and 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 at Cordata Park. More details at bellinghampubliclibrary.com/summer-reading . Summer Reading cards can be returned to any Bellingham Public Library branch to receive a free children’s book or yard sign.

Whatcom County Library System
will host kickoff parties at each of its 10 branches and bookmobile stops Monday, June 27-Saturday, July 1. Find the dates and times for each event at wcls.org/summer-reading or at the library’s online event calendar. Library staff will distribute free books to young people, offer fun family crafts and share information about in-person summer programs. Drop by for a quick hello or stay awhile to meet fellow readers. At WCLS’s Summer Reading webpage (wcls.org/summer-reading), readers of all ages can find book recommendations as well as links to book clubs and other bookish experiences.

For more information, about Summer Reading activities visit local libraries in person or the library systems’ websites: bellinghampubliclibrary.com/summer-reading or wcls.org/summer-reading. Families can also find pre-recorded virtual storytimes for children ages birth to 5 on the websites.

About BPL and WCLS:
Bellingham Public Library (BPL) serves residents within the city limits of Bellingham with online resources and three locations: Central Library (downtown Bellingham), Barkley (Barkley Village) and Fairhaven. Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) serves residents outside the city limits of Bellingham with online resources and 10 branches: Blaine, Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Island (Lummi Island), Lynden, North Fork (Kendall), Point Roberts, South Whatcom (Sudden Valley) and Sumas (temporarily closed due to flood damage; bookmobile service available). WCLS also has a bookmobile (serving Glenhaven, Birch Bay, Wickersham, Lake Samish and Sumas (while branch is closed)) and a Library Express on Northwest Drive. The library systems share a collection, resulting in a robust selection of library materials for Bellingham and Whatcom County neighbors. Apply for a free library card at any location or online at bellinghampubliclibrary.org or wcls.org.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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