The Bellingham Public Library opened a new branch at Bellis Fair Mall on April 26, bringing more reading and learning opportunities for young readers on the north side of the city. The branch offers a wide variety of books in the children’s section as well as an Early Learning Center where weekly storytimes are run by children’s librarians and specialists.
The library’s storytimes at the mall began in April 2022 with “Little Storytime” for children up to 3 years old and Preschool Storytime for ages 3 to 5. Bethany Hoglund, the deputy library director at Bellingham Public Library, said the success of this program played an important role in the expansion to a full library branch.
“Storytime is such an important time for that caregiver and that child to have a positive shared experience, to build that attachment and connection, and it’s so fun to do it around books and reading. Everyone loves stories, right?” Hoglund said.
Storytimes will continue every Wednesday through May 10 and start up again in mid-June with the addition of a weekly bilingual storytime, “Cuentos y cantos.” The mall branch will remain open during the storytime break while the library prepares for the Summer Reading Program, which begins June 1.
In addition to weekly storytimes, the library is working toward bringing summer programs for older kids, teens and adults to the Bellis Fair branch.
Hoglund said the library has received a lot of community feedback asking for engagement and learning opportunities for all ages in northern Bellingham. She said a few ideas currently being looked into include the development of a teen advisory board and coaching sessions for adults on accessing basic library technology.
Summer programs and events are said to be announced on the Bellingham Public Library website sometime in May.
“Stay tuned,” Hoglund said. “We will be unveiling more as we get used to this branch and get it under our belt.”
The Bellis Fair branch is open 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Isabel Hyde (she/her) is a city news reporter for The Front. She is a third-year studying public relations. In her free time, she enjoys watching films, curling up with a good book, and going to local music shows. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.