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About Whatcom READS!
Whatcom READS! is a county-wide program that encourages everyone to read and discuss the same book. It is organized by all the public and academic libraries in Whatcom County and our community partner, Village Books, with significant funding from Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library Foundation and support from other local businesses and organizations.
Each year, a new book is selected by Whatcom READS organizers. Community members are encouraged to read or listen to the book, share it with family, friends and neighbors, and participate in programs and special events that follow the themes in the book selection. Each series culminates with a visit by the author of the selected book, who makes numerous free-of-charge presentations at locations throughout the county.
Whatcom READS! operates in partnership through a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a governing board that includes a representative from each partner organization.
Whatcom READS! was modeled after the highly successful Seattle Reads program, which began in 1998 and became a national phenomenon. Communities across the country, large and small, from New York to San Francisco to Spokane, have been hosting similar programs to wide acclaim.
In 2008, Whatcom County Library System and Whatcom Community College were each awarded federal grants administered by the Washington State Library to help establish the Whatcom READS! program. These libraries brought in other libraries as partners, as well as local businesses and other community organizations.
Together, these organizations share a vision of creating an annual literary happening that will have neighbors talking with neighbors about great literature and the joy of reading and sharing these experiences.
2016: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
2015: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (video)
2014: Wild by Cheryl Strayed (video)
2013: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (video)
2012: In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth George
2011: Border Songs by Jim Lynch
2010: Old School by Tobias Wolff
2009: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Videos from past year's events:
Whatcom READS! 2009 Committee with author Sherman Alexie