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Library trading cards

June 16, 2012
GTS parking

Scooter parking at the Fairhaven library branch is limited (Orin O’Neill photos)

My library card is literally wearing out. I don’t have TV, just a DVD player. And one can only watch so many movies.

Luckily, Bellingham and Whatcom County have a good library system, with lots of stuff to read, watch, listen to and look at. While I spend most of my library time at the 1950 Soviet/Brutalist main library in the ‘Ham’s Civic Center, the one closest to the foothill villa is the Fairhaven branch.

Fairhaven Library

The Fairhaven branch, just off the Boulevard on 12th Street, is one of the many libraries in the U.S. and other countries funded by Andrew Carnegie, who turned to philanthropy after making a killing in the steel business in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Fairhaven Library plaque

Carnegie also built Carnegie Hall in New York and founded Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, among other things. The Larrabee family is famous in these parts for, among other things, donating the land that became Larrabee State Park, the first one in Washington state.

Among the 1% of the time there was this thing called noblesse oblige, which meant giving something back to the places and people that helped make one filthy rotten stinking rich. A totally alien concept, these days.

Fairhaven Library entrance

According to legend, Carnegie demanded each library have a grand stairway at its entrance, so as to signify a rise to knowledge and wisdom. Of course, this was the better part of a century before the Americans with Disabilities Act. Luckily for me, there’s an ADA-compliant entry accessible from the parking lot.

Fairhaven Library interior

As you can see, the place is most definitely not a dark, musty tomb. But it’s not particularly large, either. Luckily, there’s a reservation system that allows you to search the system’s entire catalog online and reserve stuff for pickup at the branch most convenient to you. And you can park free in Fairhaven; during the week you must feed the Civic Center kiosks from 9 to 5.

Fairhaven Library fireplace

OTOH, Fairhaven has a cozy (gas) fireplace, which is great on cold days. Like the one on which I’m writing this, for instance.

Fairhaven Library mantel

Just watch your head.

Like nearly all libraries these days, the Bellingham Public Library has had to make cutbacks due to decreased tax revenue. All library branches are closed Sundays, and Fairhaven is only open from 2:00 to 6:00 pm, Tuesday thru Saturday.

There are more pix, of course. Click here to see them. Favicon

One Comment
  1. dan gould permalink
    June 16, 2012 11:28 pm

    Carnegie stuff is a real gem.

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