Library One Card Program

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Local Libraries to Offer Whatcom Residents 'One Card' Program

Local libraries are banding together to allow residents who have a library card at any Bellingham Public Library facility or any of the Whatcom County Library System branch libraries to borrow library materials from local academic libraries, including Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College, Whatcom Community College and Western Washington University.

The service, called the “Library One Card” program because residents will only need one card to access all the libraries, is free. Users will also be able to return library materials to any of the libraries and book drops in the county, and be assured that they will return to the appropriate library.

The Library One Card program will officially go into effect Oct. 1, 2010. Borrowing rules of each individual library apply. For more details, contact your local library.

The initiative is spearheaded by Whatcom Libraries Collaborate, a group of library directors and deans dedicated to expanding library access for better stewardship of resources and greater community impact.

“In these tough budget times, when free library access is all the more important, we decided to pool our resources and work collaboratively. After all, we’re really all one community--why not act as one library to serve it?” said Christopher Cox, Dean of Libraries at Western Washington University. “Often these partnerships only involve one type of library. This partnership between local public and academic libraries is unique, one of the few of its kind in the country.”

Whatcom Libraries Collaborate began meeting informally in 2001, but formalized a regular meeting schedule as a result of their close collaboration that began as part of Whatcom READS!, the county-wide popular one book program in 2007, and members’ previous experiences with library consortia in other states.

“All area residents will benefit from new shared access to the treasures of our libraries.” said Joan Airoldi, director of the Whatcom County Library System. “We hope they will celebrate and take advantage of this terrific opportunity that may expand in the future with other service and product enhancements.”

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