Fairfax County, Virginia

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12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,

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Fairfax County Public Library Receives $2,000 American Society of Radiologic Technologists Grant

ASRT Grant New Title Book Covers

The Fairfax County Public Library has received a $2,000 grant from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists to purchase books and educational materials on medical imaging and radiation therapy.

The grant program is part of National Radiologic Technology Week®,  an annual event that recognizes the vital work of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals across the nation. The celebration takes place each year during the week that includes Nov. 8 to commemorate the discovery of the x-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895.

National Radiologic Technology Week PosterAs part of the ASRT National Library Partnership grant program, five FCPL branches — Chantilly Regional, Kingstowne, Reston Regional, Sherwood Regional and Thomas Jefferson — will join hundreds of libraries across the United States in presenting book displays related to the radiologic sciences, medical imaging, radiation therapy and the pioneers of radiologic technology during National Radiologic Technology Week, Nov. 3-9, 2019.

The $2,000 grant provided a much-needed supplement to this section of the library’s collection, and the participating branches will highlight the grant-funded materials — including new titles and added copies ranging from children’s books about MRIs, x-rays and Marie Curie to adult reads on cancer, the Radium Girls and Nikola Tesla — in their displays. 

In addition to educating the public about radiologic technologists’ important role on the health care team, patient safety measures and the science behind medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures, these added items will provide a valuable resource for local students of medicine and radiologic science.

asrt logoASRT is the world’s largest radiologic science organization, representing more than 156,000 radiologic technologists, the professionals who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures. Use #ASRTLovesLibraries to follow their National Library Partnership efforts and see the National Radiologic Technology Week displays on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Search “radiology” in the library catalog to discover all the items in our collection focused on this topic, and be sure to stop by the Chantilly Regional, Kingstowne, Reston Regional, Sherwood Regional and Thomas Jefferson libraries during November 3-9 to interact with their exciting exhibits.

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Writers at the Ready for National Novel Writing Month at Fairfax County Public Library

Take Part in Writing Contests, Tutorials, Discussion Groups and More at Your Library in November

NaNoWriMo logo banner

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

It’s that time of year again, for leaf raking, pumpkin-y baking, apple picking… and novel writing, of course! Each year during National Novel Writing Month — better known as NaNoWriMo — more than 300,000 writers around the world sign up for the challenge of writing a 50,000-word first draft of a novel in only 30 days.

NaNoWriMo is an internet-based creative writing project with a fun and fast-paced approach. It’s free and open to anyone over the age of 13—with a Young Writers Program also available to young writers 17 and under. To learn more and sign up, visit

Celebrate at Your Library

Whether you’ve got a story stewing inside you or are searching for a spark of inspiration, whether you’re a seasoned creative writer looking for a motivation boost or new to the craft and in need of a kick-start, November is the perfect time head to your library for programs and events in support of your writing goals.

While all of our local branches are always open for you to come in and write, the library has a variety of programs scheduled throughout the month to celebrate NaNoWriMo. Take a look at some of the highlights below, and search the events calendar for more dates, branches and activities. Then, bring your favorite notepad or laptop, or use one of the library's public computers to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard for your project.

NaNoWriMo Kick-Off and Contest

NaNoWriMo 2019 PosterGet an early jump on the fun at the NaNoWriMo Kickoff Party at City of Fairfax Regional Library on October 26. Meet your fellow novelists, discuss strategies for writing 50,000 words in 30 days and enjoying refreshments while you get ready to write.

Then, join Sherwood Regional Library for their very own National Novel Writing Month contest. Participants will write and submit a short story of at least 15 pages in length by November 30. One adult and one teen will win grand prizes!

Need help getting started? Attend the Short Story Basics Writer’s Workshop at Sherwood on November 3 at 2 p.m. The workshop will focus on the basic structures of the short story while incorporating short exercises designed to get your creative juices flowing.

If you’ve already written the next great American short story and want to share it with the world (or if you spend November writing and end up with something special), don’t miss Sherwood’s How to Get Your Short Story Published workshop on November 30 at 4 p.m. This program will discuss the etiquette of contacting publishers and how to find the right home for your piece.

Join a Writers’ Group

In addition to our NaNoWriMo events, the library has writers’ groups that meet regularly throughout the year, including the November dates below. Check the events calendar for all writers’ groups, dates and times.

  • Writers of Chantilly
  • Chantilly Regional Library | November 5 and 25 | 6:30 p.m.
  • A diverse group of published and aspiring writers transforms words and thoughts into creative stories to share with each other for thoughtful discussion, positive direction and maximum impact. New members are always welcomed.
  • Pohick Writers’ Roundtable
  • Pohick Regional Library | November 6 | 7 p.m.
  • Discuss your work with other writers.
  • Springfield Writers’ Group
  • Richard Byrd Library | November 7 and 21 | 7 p.m.
  • Focuses primarily on fiction and creative non-fiction, but poets are encouraged to share their work, too. Though it is not mandatory, writers are encouraged to bring a 1-5 pp. long piece to read aloud. Group will provide general feedback, focusing on flow, plot holes, character development, grammar, punctuation, or whatever the writer wants as a focus. For a more in-depth critique, some members might be available to proofread or copyedit entire manuscript. Writers of all skill levels are welcomed.

One-on-One Writing Tutoring

Still working on getting that writing process down pat, or not ready to share your work with peers yet? Sign up for one-on-one research and writing tutoring sessions at George Mason Regional Library. During NaNoWriMo, 50-minute sessions are available on November 1, 5, 9, 16 and 26. High school to adult writers can learn tips to improve your research and writing processes and work on your current project, including academic papers and other essays, test prep, cover letters, creative writing, brainstorming and citations. Please register online in advance and bring a copy of your work to the session.

Writing with laptop and notebook

Get Ready, Get Set, Write!

Whether or not you meet the 50,000 words goal by the end of November, mark the close of National Novel Writing Month with a celebration at City of Fairfax Regional Library on December 1 at 2 p.m.

But first, here's some tips from the experts to help demystify the writing and publishing processes, so the daunting thought of 50,000 words doesn’t leave you staring straight at a writer's block.

Plus, visit our online research guide for style guides and resources for writers, and find books about creative writing in the library catalog.

And now... let the brainstorming begin!

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A New Library Catalog is Coming!

Family Uses Library Catalog in Branch

Prepare for a better, more user-friendly experience.

This November, Fairfax County Public Library is launching Polaris, a new catalog, to help you discover our collection of more than 2.3 million books, eBooks, audiobooks, eAudiobooks, movies and more.

The new catalog will feature a more user-friendly experience with an updated design, plus:

  • Smarter, faster and more intuitive searching.

  • Account customization, including the abilities to log in with a unique username of your choice instead of your library card number and to choose text notifications.

  • Auto-renewal, up to three times, of physical items borrowed from the library.

  • Access to a wish list to save items to borrow later.

  • The catalog will be available in Korean and Spanish, as well as English.

Please pardon our (digital) dust as we make this upgrade. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The new catalog will launch Wednesday, November 13.

  • On Tuesday, November 12, all Fairfax County Public Library branches will be closed for the transition to the new catalog.

  • The old catalog will not be available between November 7 and November 12.

  • Between October 28 and November 12, customers will not be able to put books on hold, but they can pick up holds placed earlier and check out materials.

  • During this transition period, no fees will be charged, and due dates will be automatically extended.

  • You may notice a reduced number of books in the library’s Wowbrary newsletter.

For more information, visit the new catalog information page, talk to staff in a library branch, email or watch a short video about the new catalog (also available in Spanish and Korean). We’ll also keep you updated on our website and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we approach the launch date, so be sure to follow us and stay tuned.

Thank you for your patience as we work to bring you a more modern, convenient catalog. We can’t wait to share it with you!

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How Can the Library Help Teens with Mental Health?

Republished from Branch Out, Fall 2019.

Library staff supports teen with search for tough subject matter

Connect with stories, resources and support for mental health in our branches.

Your Library is a Safe Space

If you’re a teen facing mental health challenges, you may feel as if you are alone—but you certainly are not. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports one in five, or 20%, of young people ages 13-18 are currently living with a mental health condition.

Mental health conditions are not always obvious, they do not affect a specific “type” of person, and they manifest in very different ways from person to person. They include mood, behavior or conduct disorders, substance use, depression and anxiety—and the list goes on. Add to that the additional stress factors associated with being a teen, and it can be a recipe for major struggles. 

We understand that sometimes it is difficult to reach out if you have hard-to-ask questions, whether you have a mental health condition or are just going through some tough times. And while the internet has tons of resources for you to browse through, your search history isn’t always private.

Another option is your local library where our librarians are master guardians of privacy. We tell no one and try to make the information we have easy for anyone to access. If you’re scared to talk to someone about a tough topic and need more information about it, come to us. We’re here to help. 

Books on Tough Topics

(Don't) Call Me Crazy book cover(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health
Edited by Kelly Jensen
Edited by a former librarian who is passionate about writing for teen audiences, (Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a compilation of 33 essays that tell diverse stories about people, just like you and me, who have struggled with or just plain lived with some kind of mental health condition. Vibrant with graphics and art, this book illustrates truthful portrayals of people who are standing strong.

Med Head book coverMed Head: My Knock-down, Drag-out, Drugged-up Battle with My Brain
As told by James Patterson and Hal Friedman
Read the harrowing and heroic true story of Cory Friedman, an ordinary teenager whose courage and determination to climb out of lifelong medical turmoil and personal suffering enabled him to ultimately survive and thrive against all odds.


The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide book coverThe Teenage Guy’s Survival Guide: The Real Deal on Going Out, Growing Up, and Other Guy Stuff 
By Jeremy Daldry
Covering everything from dating, kissing and shaving to moods, peer pressure and bullying with irreverence and true understanding, this guide offers the real deal on everything you want to know—without giving you a nervous breakdown.

Trans Teen Survival GuideTrans Teen Survival Guide 
Owl & Fox Fisher
“Frank, friendly, and funny, the Trans Teen Survival Guide will inform, empower, and arm you with all the tips, confidence, and practical advice needed to navigate life as a trans teen. Wondering how to come out to your family and friends, what it’s like to go through cross-hormonal therapy, or how to put on a packer? Trans youth activists Owl and Fox have stepped in to answer everything that trans teens and their families need to know.” - Back cover.

Locate Tough Topics on the Shelves

Abusive Relationships....362.8292
Alcohol...........................362.292, 613.81
Anxiety...........................152.46, 155.5, 616.8522
Body Changes...............612.6, 613.042, 613.0433
Depression.....................616.85, 616.8526
Drugs.............................362.29, 613.8
Eating Disorders............616.85, 616.8526
Health & Hygiene..........613, 613.042
Relationships...........306.73, 646.77
Self-Esteem.............158.1, 305.235
Sex...........................613.9, 613.9071
Skin Care.................616.5, 646.726
Suicide.....................362.28, 616.85

Facing Tough Stuff?

The library’s online guide for teens answers those hard-to-ask questions.

Being a teen can be hard and they often have questions about themselves and the world around them that can be awkward or uncomfortable to ask. Access to information and resources from sources they can trust is key.

Whether in crisis or just curious, teens have 24/7 access to our Tough Stuff online resource page with a list of local, regional and national organizations and a plethora of information about mental, physical and sexual heath as well as relationships, abuse and violence. Access the Stuff for Teens guide at

If you’re in crisis, text 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. If you or someone you care about may be at risk of suicide, reach out to a 24/7 resource: Call CSB Emergency Services at 703-573-5679; Text “CONNECT” to 855-11 to contact PRS CrisisLink; Call PRS CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

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Branch Out for Brain Health: Read the Library's New Quarterly Magazine

Branch Out Fall 2019 pages turning

Introducing Branch Out Magazine

Branch Out Fall 2019 CoverNow available in library branches and other public Fairfax County Government locations throughout the county, the library’s first ever quarterly publication is designed to help community members make the most of Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) resources and services. Each quarter will feature a unique theme through which library events, technology, collections, databases, activities and more can be discovered and explored. Full listings of branch events are available online and in each branch.

The inaugural issue of Branch Out magazine — the fall 2019 issue covering September-November — focuses on the importance of brain health, containing a wealth of information about the many ways people can improve their cognitive fitness and how the library’s services and programs can support those efforts at every age. 

Keep reading for an introduction to the Branch Out: Brain Health content, then visit a library branch to pick up a copy of the magazine.

What Are You Doing to Keep Your Brain Healthy?

The library can connect you to activities and information for vibrant brain health.

Take Control of Cognitive Fitness

Our brains continuously change and develop throughout our lives. At no time do the brain and its functions just hold steady. With age and activity, some cognitive functions become weaker while others improve. And although the passing of years is out of our control, we can have some effect on how they impact our brain health.

The inaugural issue of Branch Out looks at the many ways the library can play a major role in connecting you to the activities and information you need for vibrant brain health — from things you can do now to lower the risk of cognitive loss as you age to starting children on the path to a healthy brain and much more.

A Good Start in Life

By the time children are six years old, their brains have already reached about 90% of adult size, according to the National Institutes of Health. To give infants’ and children’s brains a good start in life during this critical period of growth, there are four things you can provide:Mother and child develop brain healthy

  • Responsive, nurturing, positive experiences.
  • Fun activities.
  • Nutritious food.
  • Active engagement with the world around them (and less screen time, as recent studies have shown).

Library resources and programs can support children of all ages. For more information about children and teen programming and resources that support brain health, read pages 3, 5 and 9 in the magazine.

Exercising Your Brain

Like all muscles, the brain requires regular use and stimulating activity to stay fit, and reading is good exercise for brains at all ages. In a study published in September 2012 by the Stanford Report, Stanford researchers discovered that blood flow in the brain increased during a close reading of Jane Austen’s books and determined that “paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions.” Other types of reading increased blood flow in different areas of the brain, and researchers suggested that each style of reading may create distinct patterns in the brain that are “far more complex than just work and play.”

Strength training woman and brain health quoteMentally challenging activities like reading may also play a role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies suggest that engaging in activities you enjoy may help maintain well-being as you age, with lower rates of dementia found among people who staysocially active, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Aerobics and weight training are known to have benefits for brain function, but mind-body activities such as yoga and tai chi seem to have cognitive benefits as well. Researchers have also found that the brains of long-term meditators, at age 50, were an estimated seven and half years younger than the brains of non-long-term meditators at age 50. In that 2016 study, Eileen Luders, Nicolas Cherbuin and Christian Gaser concluded that meditation may protect against age-related brain atrophy. The library can help with cognitive fitness in many ways. Learn more about them—as well as AARP’s five pillars of brain health—in the inaugural issue of Branch Out magazine.

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Fairfax County Public Library's Award-Winning Staff, Branches and Programs

Recognizing Outstanding Achievements

Fairfax County Public Library's staff, branches and programs earn county, state, national and industry recognition for outstanding achievements and contributions to our customers and communities. The growing list below includes awards and grants for everything from individuals' support of fellow staff members and demonstrations of subject matter expertise to technology workshops and branch renovations.



Professional Associates Award | Sherwood Regional Branch Manager Linda Schlekau

Linda Schledau, branch manager of Sherwood Regional Library, was presented the Outstanding Professional Associates Award at the Virginia Library Association’s June Council Meeting. The award recognizes excellence among the library Professional Associates in the Commonwealth of Virginia, honoring those who foster communication among library employees throughout the Commonwealth and advance and strengthen the image of Professional Associates. Linda received the award for providing significant support to her staff and championing library support staff in a Virginia library.

Volunteer Service Award | FCPL Volunteer Program

The Fairfax County Public Library Volunteer Program won the 2019 Volunteer Service Award for best Fairfax County Government Volunteer Program. This award is a testament to the library’s amazing volunteers as well as its volunteer coordinators and supervisors.


Hometown Media Awards | "You’re Making Me Read What?" Podcast

Channel 16 received seven Hometown Media Awards from the Alliance for Community Media, including one in the Audio Programming category for Fairfax County Public Library’s “You’re Making Me Read What?” podcast. The podcast features lively book discussions between FCPL Director Jessica Hudson and Deputy Director Christine Jones — two librarians who love a great book but almost never agree on what makes a book great.


Public Library Association Leadership Academy | Early Literacy Services Coordinator Tina Mraz

Tina Mraz, Early Literacy Services coordinator, was selected to participate in the Public Library Association (PLA) Spring 2019 Leadership Academy. She joined 27 other exceptional librarians in Chicago, Ill, for the dynamic, four-day event of interactive education and networking. The PLA Leadership Academy empowers public library professionals to become innovative and successful leaders of change, shifting their libraries from an internal approach—focused on organizational operations—to an external approach—focused on community needs. 

Allie Beth Martin Award | City of Fairfax Regional Library Youth Services Manager Sondra Eklund

Sondra Eklund, youth services manager at the City of Fairfax Regional Library, has been awarded the PLA’s 2019 Allie Beth Martin Award. This award recognizes a public librarian for demonstrating a range and depth of knowledge about books and other library materials, as well as the distinguished ability to share that knowledge. Sondra maintains a book review blog and has personally reviewed more than 3,000 titles. She recently completed her work as part of the 2019 Newbery Award Selection Committee — which selects the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” each year — and started a Newbery Book Club for young readers at her library which will start up again in October. The 2018 Newbery Medal went to Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. Find other Newbery winners online.

Gordon M. Conable Award | FCPL Media Literacy Workshops with GMU

Fairfax County Public Library was awarded the PLA’s 2019 Gordon M. Conable Award of $1,500, which honors a public library staff member, a library trustee or a public library that has “demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights.” Fairfax County Public Library partnered with the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution to develop and present a series of public workshops around media literacy and civil communication, aimed at decreasing political polarization. The popular workshops, called “News, Blues and How to Defuse,” launched in 2017 and continue to teach media literacy skills and respectful dialogue techniques to encourage civil discussions of hot-button issues. 

The library would like to recognize the committee for all its work on these community workshops. Committee members from FCPL include JJ Dickinson, Sarah Souther Rebecca Wolff and former employee Lorri Culhane. Committee members from George Mason include Julie Shedd and Samantha Borders.

Grow with Google Free Workshops | Herndon Fortnightly Library

Google and the American Library Association (ALA) hosted free workshops at Herndon Fortnightly Library — one of three sites in Virginia — aimed at creating economic opportunities through improving digital skills. The initiative, called Grow with Google, recognizes the critical role that libraries play in supporting workforce development. On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Grow with Google staff led four different in-person workshops for job seekers and small business owners as well as library staff members. Read more

American Public Works Association Project of the Year Award | John Marshall Library Renovation

The renovation and expansion of John Marshall Library was awarded the 2019 American Public Works Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Project of the Year Award. When the branch reopened in October 2018 after the 18-month, $6.3 million renovation, visitors were welcomed to a library with expanded public meeting space, newer and better technology (including a teen gaming station), a brighter and more open interior layout and numerous LEED®-qualifying green features. Read more.

ASRT National Library Partnership Grant | FCPL

The library was awarded $2,000 from the American Society of Radiologic Technologist’s (ASRT) National Library Partnership grant program. This allows the library to purchase books on medical imaging and radiation therapy to educate the public about radiologic technologists’ role on the health care team, patient safety measures and the science behind radiological procedures. Chantilly Regional, Kingstowne, Reston Regional, Sherwood Regional and Thomas Jefferson will host displays that focus on the subject area of Radiology—including books on Marie Curie, the Radium Girls and more.


ALA Mini-Grant and Promising Practice Award | Thomas Jefferson Library

Thomas Jefferson Library was one of 250 school and public libraries awarded with $500 in microfunding from the ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, to help plan and implement coding activities during Computer Science Education (CS Ed) Week 2018 (Dec. 3-9).  For its staff’s success in designing and hosting this Ready to Code program focused incorporating youth interests, engaging with communities and families, and demonstrating impact through outcomes, Thomas Jefferson Library subsequently received a “Promising Practice Award.” An ALA task force selected the Promising Practice recipients from the pool of 220 school and public libraries who participated in the grant-supported CS Ed Week programming, and Thomas Jefferson was one of only 10 libraries in the nation and one of only four public libraries recognized with this award.


“The Great American Read” Grant | Reston Regional Library

Reston Regional Library received a community programming grant from the ALA and PBS to host programs around “The Great American Read,” an eight-part television series and multi-platform initiative that celebrates the joy of reading and the books we love through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels. More than 220 public libraries applied for the $2,000 grants, which support public programs around the series. Reston Regional Library was one of just 50 libraries nationwide to be selected. In addition to advance screenings of the series, Reston Regional offered special programs with authors, a green screen photo booth for people to place themselves in their favorite books, and monthly literary trivia nights concerning the 100 books on the list and a five-part lecture series exploring themes from episodes of The Great American Read.

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Library Board of Trustees Elects Officers

Chairman and Vice Chairman Re-Elected for One Year Terms

Miriam Smolen was re-elected chairman of the Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees at the Board’s June 12 meeting. Her second term will last one year — from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. A resident of Fairfax, Smolen has served as the Providence District representative to the Board since 2015.

Miriam Smolen
Miriam Smolen

“I am grateful for the confidence in my ability that my colleagues have shown in electing me to serve as their chairman for a second term,” said Smolen. “I am particularly proud that I can continue to lead this board as we pursue the goals of Fairfax County Public Library’s strategic plan. We accomplished a lot last year, and I know we all look forward to working together again this year towards fostering a culture of creativity and forward momentum for our library staff, partners and users.”

Fran Millhouser has been re-elected as vice chairman and will also serve a one-year term beginning July 1, 2019. Millhouser, a resident of Falls Church, has served as the Mason District representative to the Board since 2015.

Fran Millhouser
Fran Millhouser

About the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees

The Library Board of Trustees is responsible for library policies and for making budget recommendations to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The 12-member volunteer Board comprises: one member from each of the nine supervisory districts in Fairfax County, each appointed by the district supervisor; one member-at-large, approved by the Chairman of the Board; one member appointed by the City of Fairfax Council; and one member nominated by the School Board.

Library Board meetings are usually held the second Wednesday of each month (except August) at the George Mason Regional Library, located at 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. Please visit the Fairfax County Public Meetings Calendar to confirm dates and locations.

For more information visit the library’s Board of Trustees page.

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Digital Book Club “Big Library Read” Ends July 1

Wartime novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness available as eBook for two weeks with no wait list or holds

Big Library Read

Digital Book Club “Big Library Read” Ends July 1

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 or visit any Fairfax County Public Library branch. (Identification and proof of address required. For more information visit the Account Services page.)

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Become a Better Gardener at Your Library

man gardening

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.

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Three Steps to Get Started in Family History Research

old map, camera, journal

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:

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.

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