Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office: 8:00–4:30 M–F. Branch hours vary.

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,

FCPL Newsroom


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 Erin Julius at 703-324-8319.

Shipping pallets and boxes in the library's Technical Operations Center

September 28, 2020
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have taken on tasks that aren’t usually their responsibility — and the library is no different. During Fairfax County’s initial coronavirus response, FCPL’s receiving department became the library’s hub of logistics. Instead of processing books, this team received shipments of various disinfectant supplies, masks, face shields and more. They then ensured distribution to all branches. While most county employees teleworked, FCPL’s receiving team remained open at least one day a week to accept deliveries of new books. The library shifted its purchasing to digital titles in response to the governor’s stay-at-home and safer-at-home orders, but printed materials ordered prior to March were still incoming. FCPL re-opened to the public for Express Services on July 13, at which point the receiving team returned its focus to books just in time for a major rush. This year, the team’s busiest month was August, since publishers had postponed the releases of many books from April, May and June to later in the summer. During August, the FCPL receiving department accepted and confirmed more 23,000 items, representing about 2,400 titles. That meant opening and unpacking more than 800 boxes. During one four-day period, nine pallets of books and additional smaller shipments were received. Now you know the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into making your library continue to function and your favorite titles remain available during this year's stay-at-home and safer-at-home routines. For more behind-the-scenes looks at how books become library books, check out the Collections Development story from the summer issue of Branch Out magazine, and stay tuned for the next installment coming in the winter issue for a closer look at the receiving process!

three photos show hands typing on a laptop, woman knitting, hands using a power tool on wood

September 30, 2020
Leverage Fairfax County Public Library’s electronic resources to mix things up and make the most of time with yourself and your home. By Andrea Spira, Great Falls Library Branch Manager Whether you have spent the past six months bingeing hours of Netflix, finally reading all those “want to read but not enough to actually read” books you have lining your bookshelves, or manically cleaning out closets, garages and basements, chances are that at this point you’re looking back on that time at home and wondering if you could have used it differently — perhaps a tad more creatively or a bit more effectively. Fortunately, FCPL has you covered when it comes to ideas, resources and tools to inspire and enable a whole slew of new activities and projects. With a library card, some imagination and a little time, you can get those creative juices flowing and those DIY projects moving forward. Get Creative OK, you aren’t Shakespeare (who famously wrote King Lear while in isolation from the Black Death plague), but what better time to dust off that screenplay or map out your version of the great American novel than now? FCPL’s digital collection on OverDrive has nearly 20 electronic titles on writing, including classics like Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott, On Writing by Stephen King, and The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr. For a more systemic approach, turn to the Universal Class online database. It offers nearly 60 courses in general writing skills and more than 15 courses in creative writing, including: Novel Writing 101; Romance Writing; Mystery Writing; Writing the Great American Short Story; Humor Writing; Poetry Writing; and even Paranormal Romance Writing. There is, quite literally, something for everyone. All courses are self-paced, and library cardholders can sign up for multiple courses at a time. Choose to enroll in courses “video only” (essentially like auditing a course) or take the full course with assignments, tests and access to student forums. Get Crafty As an industry, arts and crafts has experienced a boom during the pandemic. Sales of crafting kits skyrocketed and how-to videos on YouTube — like those created by FCPL staff — are racking up record high views. No doubt about it; Americans are getting crafty, and you can be too! OverDrive offers how-to eBooks on a wide range of arts and crafts for kids and adults alike, from knitting, crocheting and quilting to stamping, mosaics and papercrafts. You name it, the library can help you make it. So, knit away with titles such as Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor and French Girl Knits Accessories by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, or try your hand at other activities with Washi Tape Crafts by Amy Anderson or Sweet Paper Crafts by Molly Greene. Universal Class also offers structured courses on handicrafts that will help you bring out your inner creative. Options include Knitting 101, Acrylic Painting 101, How to Draw, Western Calligraphy, Soap Making and Photography 101. Get Home Handy For many of us, our homes have never been more integral in our lives than they are now. While they serve as safe havens and sources of comfort, staying safer-at-home has meant plenty of time to notice all those less-than-ideal things — big and small — that could use a little attention. A great place to start your research and planning is the Home Improvement Reference Center online database. Log in with your library card to access a collection of books, magazines, images and videos to help with basic home maintenance, renovation and improvement as well as a library of indoor and outdoor projects to tackle. FCPL's e-magazine collection on RBdigital is another valuable home improvement resource. Download current and back issues of Dwell and Architectural Digest for inspiration and Do It Yourself Magazine and Family Handyman for the detailed how-to. Finally, if you discover you need something done in your home that you can’t tackle yourself, be sure to take a look at Consumers' Checkbook. You’ll find unbiased reviews and undercover price research on services in the Washington, D.C., area, to help you navigate the challenges of finding the right companies to help with those larger or more difficult projects. Normally available in-branch only, Consumers' Checkbook is accessible at home while the library operates under the express service model. So, no more excuses. Log in, sign up and get started today!

Miriam Smolen

September 25, 2020
The Virginia Library Association (VLA) awarded Miriam Smolen its 2020 Trustee Library Award, which recognizes distinguished service to libraries or a library in Virginia. Smolen joined the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees in 2014 and is its immediate past chair; she continues to serve on the board as the Providence District representative. “Our libraries are a foundation of our public life, and I wanted to support this jewel of a public resource,” Smolen said. Smolen has worked diligently, building relationships and bridging divides, to accomplish her present and future goals of both expanding ongoing funding for FCPL and expanding community access to library services by increasing branch hours. “Trustee Smolen’s guidance and dedication the last several years has been invaluable,” said FCPL Director Jessica Hudson. “During her tenure as chair, we received support from the county’s Board of Supervisors to expand and standardize library hours. Although we won’t see that happen this year due to pandemic-related budget changes, it’s clear that our community’s assessment of FCPL’s value has grown under Trustee Smolen’s leadership.” That advocacy is her most important contribution, Smolen said. “I am most proud of the work our board has done in advocating for more library resources for our patrons and the whole community. Individually, and as a board, we have developed strong relationships with each supervisor, and educated them and the public on the huge variety of services provided by the library, but also the tremendous need for more access and materials,” Smolen said. During these challenging times for library funding and support, Smolen’s work will provide a strong foundation for budget planning when it is time to request funding for the library system in future fiscal years, according to the news release from VLA. Even during a global pandemic, FCPL continues to serve Fairfax County residents in innovative ways, Smolen said. “Our community should know that the Fairfax County Library is filled with devoted, creative and public-minded staff.  They were, and still are, working through the COVID-19 crisis to keep providing services and books to residents stuck at home,” she said.

Man at desk with laptop writes in journal. Overlayed with FCPL logo and text: Free Job Hunt and Career Training Resources

September 16, 2020
Access free online training and job search tools 24/7 with your library card. By Elaine Duke, Library Information Assistant at Herndon Fortnightly Library Support to Help You Stand Out Fairfax County Public Library’s nearly 100 research databases cover a wide variety of topics — from car repair and literature to genealogy — and include dozens of online resources for career training and job searches. Start with the databases below, and use the “Search for Databases” function in the blue bar at the top of the A–Z Online Resources page to quickly reach these and your other favorite databases. AtoZ Databases Looking for a job? Search AtoZ Databases for current openings. Thinking of starting your own business? Use it to see what companies already exist in the area. Click on the “Intro Videos” option on the menu bar at the top of the homepage to find videos that will provide guidance and help you maximize your search. Additionally, the Reference Desk tab on the top menu bar will link you to the AtoZU Training Center and a variety of webinars design to help you capitalize on the information compiled by AtoZ Databases. Peterson’s Career Prep Turn to this new-to-FCPL database to learn about careers, receive personalized career assessments, create professional resumes and cover letters, search for jobs, explore schools and training programs, and get advice to help find a job or advance your career. The Peterson's Career Prep homepage is divided into three sections: “Create a Resume” will take you to an intuitive resume builder tool complete with templates; “Find a Career” leads to a self-paced guide including questions to help identify career paths that match with your personality and direction; and “Advice,” featuring a Virtual Career Library of individual modules to lead you through the career-seeking process. for Libraries Could your resume use a makeover? Do you need to update your interview skills? for Libraries offers video tutorials on resume writing, cover letters, networking, interview techniques and more. Browse the collection of courses to find hundreds of free training opportunities, including: “Finding a Job During Challenging Economic Times” “Job Search Strategies” “Skilled Trades: Resumes and Portfolios” “Job Hunter’s Networking Masterclass.” “Excel Tips Weekly” Career Transitions* Whether you’re looking for a job similar to something you have done in the past or for something new that better utilizes your strengths or fulfills your passions, Career Transitions is a great place to start your research and planning for entering a new field. Click the “Take a Tour” button at the top right corner of the homepage to get an extensive overview of what Career Transitions has to offer. Resources include “Tips & Advice” and “Interview Simulation,” and you can watch short interviews with professionals in “Daily Leap” videos. *This resource is being replaced by Peterson's Career Prep and will not be available after September 30, so log in now to take advantage of the Career Transitions features.   Need assistance accessing any of these resources? Ask Your Library!

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! StoryWalk station one: book cover

September 15, 2020
Fall for two new stories displayed in interactive book trails at the Chantilly and Martha Washington library branches. Get the family outside, active and reading with a fun, social distance-friendly way to spend an autumn day — Fairfax County Public Library’s children's picture book StoryWalks®. Chantilly Regional Library's StoryWalk now features Being a Good Citizen by Mary Small. "In this endearing character education tale, readers learn about the different things they can do every day to be a good citizen, including having manners, strong values, and helping local government. Through charming illustrations and supportive, read-aloud text, young learners will discover a pride in their community and themselves" (publisher's note). To find it outside the branch, look for the flamingos and follow along to the left of the building. The latest story at Martha Washington Library's interactive trail is Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming. The book follows Mr. McGreely, who — after planting the garden he has dreamed of for years — tries to find a way to keep some persistent bunnies from eating all his vegetables. Make an express stop in the branch after completing the StoryWalk to pick up the accompanying bunny nose take-and-make craft.  StoryWalks combine the pleasure of reading and the joys and benefits of taking a walk outdoors. This self-directed learning opportunity consists of a deconstructed children’s book. Each page of the book is mounted separately, and families walk from one page to the next to read the story. These interactive trails build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy outdoor activity for both children and adults. StoryWalk® was created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont. She was looking for ways to promote physical activity, early literacy and family time together in nature. With the help of Rachel Senechal, Kellogg-Hubbard Library and the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, StoryWalks were born. Contact your local branch to see if it offers a StoryWalk.

black and white photo of women picketing for the right to vote outside the White House in 1917

September 14, 2020
Photo Associated with Occoquan Workhouse Historical Marker in Lorton Fairfax County Public Library explores a dozen intriguing people and places from around the historic county. By Lisa Kern, Branch Manager at Oakton Library Formed in 1742, Fairfax County predates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the start of the Revolutionary War by more than 30 years. Over the course of nearly 300 years, the county has been home to numerous notable residents and historic events. The 455 historical markers that dot Fairfax County roadsides, parks, and other local sites commemorate many of those individuals and occasions. Some describe well-known people and places like Clara Barton, Manassas, Mount Vernon, the Battle of Ox Hill, Mosby’s Raiders and Lord Fairfax. Other markers, however, tell the stories of lesser-known figures and events, providing a treasure trove of historical gems that might surprise and intrigue many a local resident. Read on to discover a dozen of the more obscure and fascinating markers of Fairfax County — selected from the Historical Marker Database — along with their descriptions. Check out the full listings at, and learn more about local and regional history by tapping into the resources of the Virginia Room, a special collection of history and genealogy within Fairfax County Public Library. The Big Fire | Herndon On the night of March 22, 1917, a fire that started at a nearby livery stable consumed downtown Herndon, including a portion of Station Street and much of Pine Street. Although the use of dynamite prevented further devastation, 14 buildings were lost. This fire served as the catalyst for the purchase of fire equipment and the later formation of the Herndon Volunteer Fire Department. Ferenc Nagy | Herndon The founding father of Hungarian democracy and a civil rights leader, Nagy lived in Herndon from 1947 to 1979. Elected in Hungary’s first democratic election, he served as prime minister of Hungary from February 1946 to May 1947, resisting attempts by the Hungarian Communist Party to become a puppet of a Soviet backed police state. In 1947 he resigned under duress (the kidnapping of his son) and gave up the premiership in return for his son and 300,000 Swiss francs. He was subsequently granted asylum in the United States. Florence Jodzies | Oakton In 1934, at her home Harmony Farm in Oakton, Florence Jodzies founded the Vale Home Demonstration Club, affiliated with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. An excellent speaker and writer, Jodzies campaigned for better living conditions in rural communities, including the need for improved roads, indoor plumbing and access to recreational facilities. In 1936, as state library chairman of the Virginia Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs, she developed the Federation’s library project to bring books, magazines and literature to rural Virginians. Designed to “bring improvement of mind and refreshment of soul” to members and their communities, by 1938 the project was adopted by clubs throughout Virginia. Hybla Valley Airport | Alexandria Virginia’s first airport permit was granted to Elvin W. Robertson’s Hybla Valley Airport in February 1929. As president of Mount Vernon Airways, Robertson utilized the airfield as a site for barnstorming and air circuses. Robertson, Fairfax Supervisor Chairman W.F.P. Reid, and the president of Germany's Zeppelin Company envisioned the field as an ideal airport for the Hindenburg’s passenger and mail service. Additionally, the site was a contender for the Washington, D.C., regional airport. During World War II U.S. Navy pilots trained at Hybla Valley, and government surplus aircraft were sold there. Ashburn Flying Service operated the field from 1945 until its closing 1956. Ilda | Annandale Ilda, a community located at the intersection of Guinea Road and Little River Turnpike, came into existence after the Civil War and lasted into the first half of the twentieth century. It originated when two freedmen — Horace Gibson and Moses Parker — purchased property on the north side of the turnpike from the Gooding family and established a blacksmith shop. In time, a racially mixed community grew to include a post office. According to tradition, the name “Ilda” was a contraction of the name Matilda Gibson Parker. Descendants of Gibson and Parker were probably buried in a nearby cemetery, perhaps originally created to accommodate people enslaved by the Gooding family. Their remains were relocated in 2008. Ira Noel Gabrielson | Oakton Oakton resident Dr. Ira Noel Gabrielson was a pioneer conservationist, distinguished field ornithologist and renowned author. He served as the first director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was an international leader of conservation projects. Gabrielson founded and served as the first chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and first President of World Wildlife Fund-US. For his life’s work, he was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1978. His land, between Leeds Road and Difficult Run, is a Fairfax County park known as Gabrielson Gardens Park. Laura Ratcliffe | Herndon Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe was born in Fairfax County in 1836. During the Civil War she met Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, who introduced her to then-Lt. John Mosby in 1862. Mosby credited her with preventing his capture early in 1863, noting, “My life as a partisan would have closed that day.” Ratcliffe and other informants provided Mosby and his Partisan Rangers (43d Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) information that helped them raid Union outposts, communications and supply lines. She married Milton Hanna in 1890. Ratcliffe died in 1923 and is buried nearby in a family cemetery. Mystery of the Centreville Six | Centreville In June 1994, a well-preserved male skeleton was found buried in a then-wooded area and reported to authorities. Remnants of a woolen uniform jacket with military-style brass buttons covered the upper half of the remains. Three years later, forensic anthropologists and archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution and Fairfax County Archaeological Services explored the site further and found five additional burials, all in a row. After extensive examination of forensic data, as well as genealogical and military records, researchers concluded that the men were among the earliest casualties of the Civil War. They died during or after a fight at Blackburn’s Ford July 18, 1861, when Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet blocked a Federal column under Daniel Tyler that attempted to cross Bull Run. On June 10, 2006, the six soldiers were reinterred with full military honors in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts. Nike Missile Site, Fairfax Nike Missile Sites | Fairfax, Great Falls and Lorton During the Cold War, a ring of Nike anti-aircraft missile sites defended the nation’s capital, reminiscent of the perimeter of forts that protected it during the Civil War. The launch control equipment for one of the three Nike complexes in Fairfax County was located just east of Fairfax. To the west stood the missiles, poised on above-ground launchers. The U.S. Army (1954–1959) and the Army National Guard (1959–1963) operated the battery. Built to oppose Soviet air attack, this complex and those in Great Falls and Lorton were three of 13 Nike sites that surrounded Washington and Baltimore. Occoquan Workhouse | Lorton In the Occoquan Workhouse, from June to December 1917, scores of women suffragists were imprisoned by the District of Columbia for picketing the White House demanding the right to vote. Their courage and dedication during harsh treatment aroused the nation to hasten the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The struggle for woman’s suffrage had taken 72 years. Thermo-Con House | Fort Belvoir In 1948, the Department of Defense worked with Higgins Industries to develop a standard house design to meet the Army’s housing shortage. Higgins Industries designed and mass-produced landing craft during World War II and held the patent for “Thermo-Con,” a cement material that expanded as it cured. The renowned industrial architects Albert Kahn & Associates designed the prototype in the International style, and the 410th Engineer Battalion completed the building in 1949. Due to its innovative design and construction techniques, the house was placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1997. In 2000, the Army renovated and returned ‘Thermo-Con’ House to use as distinguished visitor housing. WWII POW Camp Site | Fairfax One of seven work camps in the commonwealth of Virginia, a state road work camp located in the vicinity of this site housed 199 German prisoners of war from July to November 1945. Prisoners worked on local farms to alleviate the labor shortage associated with the war. On November 16, 1945, following the end of the war, all work camps closed and the prisoners were sent to Camp Shanks, New York, before eventually returning to Germany. The marker can be reached from the intersection of Government Center Parkway and Ridge Top Road, across from the parking entrance to apartments and retail on Ridge Top Rd., behind the storage facility.

Comic book-style illustration of Wonder Woman reading a book among palm trees with text: "Libraries are wonderful! Celebrate Libarary Card Sign-Up Month with Wonder Woman this September" and Libraries Transform, ALA, OverDrive logos

September 2, 2020
Library cards are more powerful than you know September is the American Library Association's annual Library Card Sign-up Month! This year, Wonder Woman is the honorary chair, embarking on a new mission to champion the power of a library card. Use the buttons below to register for a card, learn all about the benefits of your library account, search the library catalog, and discover services available during COVID-19. Register for an Account   Search the New Catalog   All About Accounts   Services During COVID-19  




3:30PM, Thursday, November 5, 2020 3:30pm–5:00pm Registration starts October 8…

Fairfax Virtual Assistant