SUDDEN VALLEY - The South Whatcom Library will open in a former horse barn Tuesday, March 11 - after years of fundraising and thousands of hours of volunteer labor to make it happen.
The 6,500-square-foot library will open at 10 a.m., and the soft opening will allow library staff to work out kinks if need be.
The library is in a red barn through Gate 2 in Sudden Valley. A grand opening will be in April.
The Friends of the Sudden Valley Library raised the money and helped turn the old barn into a new library, a renovation project that cost $370,000 to $400,000.
Members have been driving the project since forming the nonprofit in April 2010, saying the area that makes up Sudden Valley, other parts of south Lake Whatcom, and Glenhaven have outgrown the limited services provided twice a week - for a total of five hours - by the Whatcom County Library System's bookmobile.
The South Whatcom Library also will be open much longer at 43 hours a week.
The project is a collaboration of the Friends, Whatcom County Library System, and the Sudden Valley Community Association.
The library system is providing library materials, computers, furnishings and staff for the branch.
"I think they'll be pleased with how we have enhanced what they've given us, beyond what I think many of them even dreamed," said Christine Perkins, executive director of Whatcom County Library System, of what the staff has done with the building since the Friends turned the keys over in February.
When the barn opens as the 10th branch of the Whatcom County Library System, it will replace the bookmobile service in the community.
The library's offerings will include Wi-Fi access, Internet workstations, a large meeting room, a smaller conference room, space for teens and children, as well as events.
A library employee will focus on events for youths, while the library space will give families a place to gather closer to home.
"It gives them a destination in their community that they can go to with younger children, get some socialization for the kids - and for the parents for that matter - and also have some great interaction with early skills and activities (for children)," Perkins explained.
Karin Schulhauser, who managed the Sumas library branch, will oversee the new South Whatcom branch.
Sudden Valley is a private community run by the Sudden Valley Community Association and funded by membership dues.
NEW LIBRARY HOURS
The new South Whatcom Library will open starting Tuesday, March 11. Hours are:
-- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
-- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
-- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The library is at 8 Barn View Court through Gate 2 in Sudden Valley. Call 360-305-3600 for more information.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or email@example.com .