Branch Out

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Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

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Sharing is Changing. Sharing Creates Change.

two photos show father and son wearing masks sitting at a table in the library and a young girl using a self-check-out kiosk at the library

Connect to individuals, identities and ideas through new and tried-and-true resources, interactive programs and diverse perspectives from your library.

Seeking New Ways to Engage

When we think of the fall season, we think of the back-to-school routine and resettling into our normal day-to-day after summer vacations. We think of gathering food, friends and family together as the temperatures cool and fall sports get underway. We think ahead and anticipate the traditions and togetherness of the holiday season. This year many of those things are different or disrupted, making it feel difficult to navigate a season in which many expect and enjoy physically coming together for shared learning, shared activities, shared meals and more.

Yet the importance of seeking and fostering personal connections and connections between communities is more apparent now than ever. A global pandemic and a renewed focus on race relations in America have necessitated the evaluation and rethinking of ways we engage with each other, with information and with resources. Social distancing and stay-at-home practices have reduced in-person interaction and sharing of space while the continued movement for social justice and equity depends on communication and understanding. Fortunately, technology, creativity and empathy serve as accessible tools to facilitate our connections with each other — connections with family, friends and neighbors, with those like us and those with different lived experiences and perspectives.

A Constant Companion

The library looks and operates differently than normal right now, but it continues in its role as a shared resource and a wellspring of social, educational and entertainment opportunities. During branch closures in the spring, FCPL vastly expanded its digital collection and transitioned from in-person to virtual programming, while library staff and technology contributed to projects in support of community health and safety (read more about those projects in these other fall issue articles: 3D Printing to Share and Focusing on Feel-Good News). Even as curbside pickup and express in-branch services have become available, online offerings continue to provide accessible-from-anywhere ways for you to read, learn, explore and share ideas.

Whatever the opening status of our branches or the virtual or in-person nature of our events — and whatever your current routine or “new normal” is — your library is here to support your interests and efforts to connect with knowledge, with new experiences and with your fellow community members. Read through this quarter's Branch Out content to learn about the programs, groups, materials, recommendations and other opportunities available to help you discover, celebrate and strengthen both the things that make us unique and the things we have in common.

three photos show library curbside service, face masks in the shape of a heart, and library program-to-go materials

“This idea of shared humanity and the connections that we make with one another — that’s what, in fact, makes life worth living.” - Clint Smith

Ways to Share and Connect Through the Library

Branch Out's fall 2020 articles share ways you can develop empathy and understanding through reading, explore and share your own stories through writing, and support and expand your community using library resources — starting with the options listed here.

Follow FCPL on social media for the latest videos and updates: Facebook @fairfaxfountylibrary, Twitter @fairfaxlibrary, Instagram @fairfaxlibrary, and YouTube at /fairfaxlibrary.

  • Read into Race and Culture

  • Whether you’re looking for adult nonfiction, children’s books or something in between, the FCPL collection of books, eBooks and eAudiobooks contains titles — including always-available options — by diverse authors in their #OwnVoices. Find stories that mirror your experiences, provide windows into different perspectives or act as sliding doors through which you can step into others’ shoes (read more about the mirror, window and sliding door analogy in Choosing Diversity in Children's Books). Carousels on the homepage of the library catalog feature many of these categories, so visit now to find your next read.
  • Use Interlibrary Loan

  • Can’t find the item you want in the FCPL catalog? The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) cooperative resource sharing service allows you to borrow materials not owned by FCPL from other U.S. library systems. Though ILL item availability may be impacted by current events, you can place requests for materials online through the ILLiad system. Learn more and access ILLiad in the My Library Account guide.
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