Answered By: Gabe Gossett
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2023     Views: 308

The One Card program makes it possible for community members to check items out from Western Libraries and, in turn, give Western students and faculty access to other academic and public libraries in Whatcom County.

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

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.

“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.”

Thanks to a collaborative effort among area libraries, the One Card program allows anyone who lives or goes to school in Whatcom County to check out materials from any public or academic library in the county, and to return them to any library or book drop in the county.

“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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