In eastern Whatcom County, right where Highway 542 turns sharply to the east and toward Mount Baker, you’ll find the North Fork Community Library.
It sits in front of a thicket of trees, among the rolling foothills of the Cascades, and on a recent Saturday, the parking lot is seeing some steady business. It’s home to the Twin Sisters Farmers Market, held here every Saturday from June through October.
And it fills an important need here. The nearest big grocery store — an IGA at Nugent’s Corner — closed two years ago. There are other, smaller stores, but locals say the nearest full-service grocery is 45 minutes to the west, in Bellingham.
But here, once a week in the library parking lot, locals can find chickory, beets, celery, carrots, peppers, potatoes, and so much more.
Hosting a farmers market is one way the Whatcom County Library System tries to serve the public, beyond the traditional research-and-literature functions of a public library.
Its libraries across the county offer windows into a variety of communities that each have unique needs. We spoke with Christine Perkins, executive director of the Whatcom County Library System, about what she’s learned from the various cities covered by the library system.