Proposed by Whatcom County Library System

Alix Prior is the new director of the Ferndale Library. She succeeds Sarah Koehler who retired earlier this summer after 25 years with the Whatcom County Library System. As manager of the city-owned 15,000 square foot library building, Prior works with a team of 24 staff to provide library services to the Ferndale community.

“Alix’s professional background and personal affinity for library work make her the ideal candidate for this position,” said Christine Perkins, executive director of the Whatcom County Library System. “His experience leading teams, overseeing facilities, managing projects and providing direct service from a trauma-informed lens aligns with the needs of Ferndale Library and is sure to our strategic goal to serve all members of our communities equitably. We are delighted to welcome him to the library system and hope that residents of Ferndale will stop by the library to say hello.

Avant received her undergraduate degree from Western Washington University and a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University. She has held various roles supporting programs that provide shelter to individuals and families in Portland, Oregon. She also worked for four years as the director of SafeChoice, a domestic violence program in Vancouver, Washington. Avant moved to Ferndale in November 2021 and had worked as a Housing Programs Coordinator with the Opportunity Council.

“I grew up going to the library,” she says. “And before I started as a manager, I visited the Ferndale Library at least once a week with my son.” A fan of historical fiction, Prior’s favorite library services include the Libby app, children’s programs and preschool learning kits.

She adds that library services play a vital role in meeting community needs and providing a haven of peace. “Beyond reading and literature, the library provides access to information, technology and research,” she says. “The library plays an important role in community development. By bringing people together in a public space open to all, we create opportunities for families and individuals to learn and grow. And we strengthen the community with programs and other services.

Prior looks forward to engaging with the Ferndale community. “I want to learn and actively participate in the growth of the community,” she says. “I want to hear what the community needs and assess how the library can meet those needs.” His community activities include serving on the Ferndale Community Services Board of Directors.