Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office: 8:30–4:30 M–F. Branch hours vary.

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,

FCPL News and Special Events


Library-related news and special events for you and your family to enjoy. For a full list of events at your library visit our Library Calendar. Stay connected to your library by signing up for a newsletter or following us on social media.

For media queries call Marketing Director Mary Mulrenan at 703-324-8319.

woman reading on the beach

June 7, 2019
Article originally published May 30, 2019, by Fairfax County NewsCenter. Let the Summer Reading Adventure Begin School’s almost out, but that doesn’t mean the learning can’t continue. Our library provides a free summer reading program that includes activities, programs and prizes for readers of all ages. According to many studies, reading for pleasure enhances children’s reading skills and helps them to succeed in school. Luckily, the library’s Summer Reading Adventure 2019 provides plenty of ways for even the most lukewarm reader to get excited about books during summer break. And for the first time, this year features an adult summer reading program as well. Sign Kids Up for a Summer of Adventure Beginning Thursday, June 13, parents and kids can sign up for the summer reading adventure that runs through Saturday, Aug. 31, by registering online or visiting a library branch. Here are the minimum number of books to read by age/grade level: Young children through third grade: 15 books (kids can have books read to them). Fourth through fifth grade: 10 books. Sixth grade through high school: 5 books. Kids can also read free eBooks or listen to eAudio books or books on CD, which are all available through your library branch. Keep a paper or online log of the books read.When a child reaches the minimum for their age group, visit one of our library branches by Aug. 31 to pick up a coupon book with free and discounted fun treats like ice cream, soccer games and miniature golf. Special Activities Just for Teens Having a hard time keeping your teenage kid engaged? The library has special programs and contests designed just for them this summer! Teens can take part in an essay and poetry contest, a film festival and a cover art contest all aimed at students entering seventh grade or above. Some competitions even have cash prizes! Visit your local library branch or look online for information and entry details. Now Adults Can Get In on the Fun New this year, Fairfax County Public Library is launching a summer reading program designed specifically for adults. Beginning Thursday, June 13, and running through Saturday, Aug. 31, readers ages 18 and up can pick up reading logs from any library branch or print out a reading log online. Participants can read (or listen to) four books of their choice, then complete a book or suggested log activity for their fifth entry. Readers can bring up to two completed logs to any branch for incentives, and all finishers will be eligible for a grand prize drawing at the conclusion of the summer reading program on Aug. 31. Learn More About the Adult Program Plenty to Do All Summer Long The Summer Reading Adventure also has tons of special events and contests for kids and adults alike! The library offers fun events all summer long including Rocknoceros!, Groovy Nate, Chris Michael Magic, a Harry Potter Escape Room and more. Special events for teens include historical swordsmanship, a stop-animation workshop, a comic club and robotics workshops. All events and activities are free but often fill up quickly. Some events require registration – sign up online or at your library branch beginning two weeks before an event. If needed, ask for signed interpretation or assistive listening devices when you call (TTY users can call 711).

"It's Showtime at Your Library" Teen Summer Reading Program poster

June 13, 2019
Contests, movies screenings and interactive events help teens explore personal interests throughout the summer Think that “school’s out” means “out of options” for engaging educational and extracurricular opportunities for teens? Not even close. The library has a variety of special programs and contests this summer designed just for teens. Some competitions even have cash prizes, and many events include socializing and free snacks. Keep reading to learn more about all the exciting (and free) activities for teens taking place at your library throughout the summer. Summer Reading Incentives The Summer Reading Adventure runs June 13 through August 31 and invites all children and teens—birth through high school—to read for fun over the summer. To earn the summer reading coupon book featuring a variety of prizes and discounts, teens in rising grades 6-12 can choose any five books, eBooks or audiobooks and track their reading online or with reading logs available for printing or for pick up at any library branch. The theme in 2019 is “It's Showtime at Your Library!”, which has inspired many of the other teen contests, events and programs this summer. Teen Contests and Competitions Several contests for teens invite young artists and writers to flex their creativity and share their skills and ideas with the community through both individual and team projects. Teen Cover Art Contest – Choose a book that’s been adapted for the screen and redesign the cover, being sure to include the title and author in your design. Submissions are due August 2, and first place and runner up prizes will be awarded in categories for grades 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Teen Film Festival – Teens can show off their film-making skills by creating a short film of any genre. Submissions will be accepted August 5-September 27, and winners will be announced at a special screening on October 18 during Teen Read Week. For Love of Country© Essay & Poetry Contest – Rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders can enter the 11th annual “For Love of Country©: In My Own Words” essay and poetry contest to win up to $100. Submissions of original essays or poems on the topic “Who has most influenced the direction of your life, and why?” are due August 31. Visit your local library branch or look online for more information and entry details. Summer Activities and Events Our June, July and August calendars all feature interactive programs for teens to learn, watch or do something they love — or explore something new. Highlights of the summer’s teen activities and events include: Tea with Mrs. B See calendar for various branches, days and times beginning June 14. In this introductory etiquette class hosted by the professional staff from Tea with Mrs. B, learn how to introduce yourself, greet others and make a great first impression. Please register. Skintuition Holistic Skincare See calendar for various branches, days and times beginning June 17. Discover how the foods you eat impact your skin from a licensed esthetician, try the “skin scanner” and get personalized tips on how to feel and look your best. Please register. Henna Harmony See calendar for various branches, days and times beginning June 17. Learn about the history of henna and receive your own small design from a professional artist. Please register. Historical Swordsmanship See calendar for various branches, days and times beginning June 18. Fantasy (and history) lovers can learn about historical swordsmanship (aka sword fighting) and get hands-on instruction from the pros. Please register. Time for Teens: Book to Big Screen Saturdays: June 29, July 27 and August 24, 1:30-4 p.m. at Herndon Fortnightly Each month read a popular novel, then gather at the library to watch the film adaptation with snacks and discussion. Teen Movie Night See calendar for various branches, days and times beginning July 11. Bring your friends and watch great new movies like “Captain Marvel” — for free! Time for Teens: Karaoke Friday, July 12, 3-4 p.m. at Herndon Fortnightly Love to sing? Bring your and rock out together to pop, rock, show tunes and more. Snazzy Supplies Tuesday, August 13. 2-5 p.m. at John Marshall Help us get ready for a new school year and make some truly snazzy school supplies using pens, paper, stickers and duct tape. Check the library calendar for a full list of all our teen events. Plus, find teen resources, programs, book recommendations and more in the Stuff for Teens online guide.

Big Library Read logo and book cover

June 10, 2019
Wartime novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness available as eBook for two weeks with no wait list or holds Digital Book Club “Big Library Read” Starts June 17 Join fellow readers in Fairfax County and globally for Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. Download this summer’s selected book anytime June 17 through July 1 to start reading, then take part in online discussions with other participating readers. What’s a Digital Book Club? The Big Library Read digital book club is an international reading program that connects millions of readers around the world simultaneously with an eBook or audiobook through the library. How do I Participate? Readers can take part in the two-week program by downloading A Dangerous Act of Kindness by LP Fergusson from the library's OverDrive page. Enjoy it as an eBook or eAudiobook with no wait lists or holds from June 17-July 1. Then join an online discussion about the book at When is the Book Club? Between June 17 and July 1, Fairfax County Public Library users will be able to borrow a digital version of LP Fergusson’s A Dangerous Act of Kindness—no waitlist! What is A Dangerous Act of Kindness About? What would you risk for a complete stranger? When widow Millie Sanger finds injured enemy pilot Lukas Schiller on her farm during World War II, the distant war is suddenly at her doorstep. Compassionate Millie knows he’ll be killed if discovered and makes the dangerous decision to offer him shelter from the storm. On opposite sides of the inescapable conflict, the two strangers forge an unexpected and passionate bond. But as the snow thaws, the relentless fury of World War II forces them apart, leaving only the haunting memories of what they shared, and an understanding that their secret must never see light. As Millie’s dangerous act of kindness sets them on paths they never could have expected, those closest to them become their greatest threats, and the consequences of compassion prove deadly. A Dangerous Act of Kindness is a beautiful, harrowing love story, perfect for fans of Rachel Hore and Santa Montefiore. Named Highly Commended in the Caledonia Novel Award 2018, it was chosen by a popular vote of readers and librarians worldwide to be the next Big Library Read. What Type of Device is Needed? A Dangerous Act of Kindness can be read and listened to on all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, Chromebook™ and Kindle® without worrying about waitlists or holds. The title will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, and there are no late fees. What if I Don’t Have a Library Card? No library card? No problem. Sign up for a card through the library’s website or visit any Fairfax County Public Library branch. (Identification and proof of address required. For more information visit the Account Services page.)

Poet Surekha Vijh reads her work at Thomas Jefferson Library

June 6, 2019
Authors Offer Inside Looks at Books Connect with the creators of popular titles on history, health, Hispanic culture, fiction and more at these author talks, book signings and events at various branches through June, July and August. JUNE 8 SATURDAY | 3 P.M. Winifred Conkling, author of Votes for Women!, Radioactive and others, takes an unflinching look at some of the uglier moments in women's fight for the vote. “Votes for Women!” explores suffragists' often powerful, sometimes difficult relationship with the intersecting temperance and abolition campaign. Pohick Regional. 13 THURSDAY | 7:30 P.M. Jenny Masur, a local historian, will discuss her book Heroes of the Underground Railroad Around Washington, D.C. Books available for purchase and signing. Patrick Henry. 23 SUNDAY | 2 P.M. Julie Langsdorf and Angie Kim will join community members for an author talk and book signing. Julie will discuss her much talked-about book White Elephant, and Angie will discuss her celebrated book Miracle Creek. Books available for purchase. This program was developed in partnership with Scrawl Books and is made possible by the generosity and support of the Friends of Reston Regional Library. Reston Regional. 27 THURSDAY | 7 P.M. Thomas Neviaser, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, will discuss his book The Way I See It: A Head-to-Toe Guide to Common Orthopedic Conditions. Pohick Regional. JULY 20 SATURDAY | 1:30 P.M. Hispanic Book Festival of Chantilly. Bring the whole family for an afternoon of readings by local Hispanic writers and poets. Registration is required for this event. Registration opens Saturday, June 22, at Chantilly Regional. 25 THURSDAY | 7 P.M. William Connery, a local historian, tour guide and author of Civil War Northern Virginia 1861 and Mosby's Raids in Civil War Northern Virginia, will paint a picture of Northern Virginia at the beginning of the American Civil War. Pohick Regional. AUGUST 8 THURSDAY | 7 P.M. Barbara Glakas discuss her new book The Hidden History of Herndon. Books available for purchase and signing. Herndon Fortnightly.

Image of man gardening

June 5, 2019
In addition to a wide-ranging variety of books, the library offers special events, ongoing plant clinics and soil testing to support Fairfax County gardeners—those with or without green thumbs. Keep reading to discover four things you can do this spring and summer: Attend an Event Culinary Herbs Workshop - Richard Byrd Library, Saturday, June 15, 10:30 a.m. – Noon Learn how to grow and use 13 common culinary herbs in this hands-on workshop with Herb Society of America member and horticulturist Peggy Riccio. Learn about cultural requirements, harvesting and preservation methods and quick and easy culinary uses. Each attendee will take home a handout that lists the herbs, several recipes, sources for buying plants and seeds, recommended herb books and magazines, herb organizations and local herb events and public gardens. Gardening with Native Plants - Martha Washington Library, Saturday, June 15, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Green Spring Master Gardeners will share the benefits and challenges of using native plants in your garden. Fall Gardening - Chantilly Regional Library, Monday, July 29, 7 – 8 p.m. Robert Shulman of Green Spring Gardens will talk about which vegetables to plant for fall harvests and for overwintering. Registration for this event begins July 1. Ask a Question at a Plant Clinic Do you have a question for a Fairfax County Master Gardener? You can find them at multiple library branches throughout the summer. Learn more about Fairfax County Master Gardeners online. Get Your Soil Tested Soil Testing Kits are available at all library branches. Healthy soil leads to healthy plant growth , and soil testing allows you to determine if your soil lacks nutrients and needs fertilizing. The acidity of your soil and availability of aluminum also determines the color of flowers like hydrangea. Learn more about soil testing. Borrow a Book (or two or three) Of course, we don’t have to tell you about the hundreds of titles we offer about gardening— including books on herb gardening, organic gardening, container gardens, gardening in miniature, gardening with succulents, presidential gardens and memoirs of gardeners. You could also search our catalog by the plant you are trying to cultivate, like hydrangea, azalea, vegetables, foliage and native plants. Or you can search by the type of wildlife you would like to attract to your garden, including butterflies, bees or birds. If you’re looking for something specific, ask your library staff; they are always happy to help you find the perfect book. Here are a few recent titles to get you started: A Way to Garden, Gardening with Emma (a kid to kid guide) and Deer Resistant Design.

Genealogy documents

May 15, 2019
Genealogy Research Takes You on a Journey Back in Time Documenting an ancestor at a certain place and time are the building blocks of genealogy research. Here are three steps to get you started on your family history research. Step One: Determining What You Know Already Effective researchers begin with what they know and work backward in time toward the unknown. And, you probably know more than you think. Are you the keeper of the family history?  Do you have boxes and scrapbooks of photographs and newspaper clippings? Reach out to family elders, friends and neighbors to interview them about your ancestors. Ask specific questions such as “What grade were you in when the family moved?” Record all the answers, even those that don’t make sense. They will probably start to make sense as you dig deeper.   Step Two: Start Organizing Your Material   Now, what do you do with the information you have culled from scrapbooks and interviews? Acquiring a three-ring binder for each family surname, i.e., your father’s last name and another for your mother’s maiden name and three-hole punch plastic sheet protectors for documents, clippings and photos is a simple way to start. To help you organize your material, go to to access its free forms. The “Ancestral Chart” and “Family Group Sheet” will be most useful to a new genealogist or go digital with a Google search for “genealogy software reviews.” There are several different options for organizing files. Step Three: Start Your Research Online with Library Databases Have your library card ready and go to the library webpage at Navigate to “Research Center,” then “A-Z Resources” for Heritage Quest. Ancestry Library is another great source, but you must be in a library branch to access it.   More resources you can find online: Chronicling America offers free access to almost 15 million pages of U. S. newspapers. FamilySearch requires registration but allows researchers to search records and the Wiki without charge. Find A Grave provides free cemetery information. Register online to acquire a Library of Virginia account in order to explore military records on Fold3.    There you have it! You are off to a great start putting together your family tree and learning about your ancestors. continue your genealogy research To continue your genealogy research, staff at the Virginia Room suggest the following: Search WorldCat and the FCPL catalog to discover the thousands of genealogy books that are not found online. Go to the library or use Interlibrary Loan to look at them. Don’t forget the most important resources—a genealogy reference librarian and various classes and events offered throughout the year. Visit the library’s Virginia Room page and the library’s Event Catalog for more information.

RBdigital Unlimited

May 15, 2019
According to a consumer survey, 74 percent of audiobook consumers listen in their car. Residents know what traffic can be like around the county and, though the library cannot do much about that, we can certainly help on the audiobook front. RBdigital Unlimited On May 1, Fairfax County Public Library introduced RBdigital Unlimited—its new instant access eAudiobook collection. This acquisition includes more than 28,000 always available, no waiting eAudiobooks for readers of all ages. You can find the new titles mixed in with all the other material available from RBdigital. Last year, Fairfax County readers checked out more than 1.7 million eBooks/eAudiobooks from the library. Readers also placed over 790,000 holds for digital copies. The library recognized waiting for eAudiobooks was a growing pain point and continued to look for ways to add to the collection while staying within the system’s budget for materials. Enter RBdigital Unlimited. This new offering provides instant access to eAudiobooks—no holds, no waiting. This acquisition is made up entirely of eAudiobooks from five publishers (Recorded Books, Tantor Media, Christian Audio, Gildan Media, and HighBridge Audio) and are twelve months old or more. So, while waiting on hold for a library eAudiobook released last week, you can find something of interest available right now. Sample titles from the new collection include: An American Marriage (Tayari Jones), The Overstory (Richard Powers, 2019 Pulitzer), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), Night (Elie Wiesel), Prey / Lucas Davenport series (John Sandford), Alex Rider series (Anthony Horowitz), As well as many titles by authors like Garrison Keillor, Harry Turtledove, Walter Dean Meyers, Mercedes Lackey, Meg Cabot, Avi, Beverly Jenkins, Joanne Fluke, and so many others. The library works with multiple vendors for books and audiobooks, both print and digital. Many Fairfax County Public Library card holders are already familiar with OverDrive, and RBdigital is another digital vendor. Content in the RBdigital app comes from both the Library of Virginia and selections by Fairfax County library staff. It includes eMagazines, digital Great Courses, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and now also the instant access eAudiobooks. See all 28,000 newly added eAudiobooks on the RBdigital app, and start enjoying wait-free reading today!




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