Library

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office: 8:00–4:30 M–F. Branch hours vary. Please call your branch's direct line with account and eBook questions.

703-324-3100
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,
Director

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Fairfax County Public Library Has Loaned Two Million eBooks and Audiobooks in 2019

Top 25 public library system worldwide in total digital circulation

Fairfax County Public Library reached a new milestone in 2019, achieving a record-breaking two million digital book checkouts in one year. This accomplishment illustrates the continued growth and importance of library lending of eBooks and audiobooks along with the creative ways the library has served its community with digital services. Fairfax County Public Library is one of only 73 systems around the world that surpassed one million checkouts in one year through Rakuten OverDrive (complete list here).

“FCPL is thrilled to reach 2 million checkouts for our digital library,” said Dianne Coan, Technical Operations Director at Fairfax County Public Library. "Hitting this milestone is a reflection of both our selection staff’s knowledge of our community and the voracious reading habits of that community! The library has such an amazing and supportive readership who provides feedback and suggestions regularly. We are honored to be among the few libraries in North America to reach this level of use.”

Fairfax County Public Library has been providing readers 24/7 access to eBooks and audiobooks for nearly 15 years. Reader interest and usage has grown every year, reflecting popular trends and interests both locally and across the country. In the last decade, the highest-circulating title across both formats that Fairfax County Public Library readers borrowed through OverDrive was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The top-circulating genre, thrillers, represents the most popular in a vast catalog that also includes romance, fantasy, children and young adult.

The top 5 eBook titles borrowed through Fairfax County Public Library's digital collection in 2019:
  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  4. The Reckoning by John Grisham
  5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The top 5 audiobook titles borrowed through Fairfax County Public Library's digital collection in 2019:

Readers in Fairfax County just need a valid library card to access digital books from Fairfax County Public Library’s OverDrive-powered digital collection. Readers can use any major device, including iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ and Windows®. With OverDrive’s Libby app, readers can also “send to Kindle®” devices and apps (US only). All titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period and there are no late fees. Readers can also download titles onto Libby for offline use.

Also in 2019, Fairfax County Public Library introduced its new instant-access eAudiobook collection offered by RBdigital. This acquisition includes more than 34,000 always available, no waiting eAudiobooks for readers of all ages.

Visit fairfax.overdrive.com or download the Libby app to get started and borrow ebooks and audiobooks anytime, anywhere.

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Read full article January 9, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/LifeChangingMagicTidyingUp-1080x1080.png 1
Fairfax County Public Library Takes a Stand Against Unfair eBook Practices by Macmillan Publishing

Due to new restrictions on libraries’ purchase of eBooks and eAudiobooks produced by Macmillan Publishing, the Fairfax County Public Library stopped purchasing eMaterials from Macmillan and its imprints November 1.

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) is the 17th largest library, by circulation, in the United States according to the American Library Association. When FCPL’s eBook collection via Overdrive surpasses 2 million annual downloads this year, as predicted, it will be one of only about 20 libraries in the country to do so.

Macmillan Publishing began limiting library access to its eBooks and eAudiobooks on November 1 by:

  • Restricting libraries to the purchase of a single electronic copy of a title for the first 60 days after publication, regardless of the number of people the library system serves or the number of library branches in the system.
  • Allowing libraries to purchase additional copies of the title after the embargo at inflated prices.
  • Limiting the lifespan of these copies to two years, after which libraries must either re-purchase them at full price or lose access to them.

The decision to stop purchasing eBooks and eAudiobooks from Macmillan was “not a decision we made lightly,” Library Director Jessica Hudson said. “But this new eBook policy unfairly impacts selected populations in the county and would have a significant negative impact on the library’s purchasing abilities by requiring us to spend additional funds on one format per title.”

Digital material has changed the reading landscape over the last few years. The ability to manipulate font size and choose fonts has helped readers with vision loss and dyslexia. Library materials also provide equal opportunity for low income residents. The new restrictions impact the library’s ability to offer equal access to information for all.

“We understand publishing is a business, and it’s not our objective to tell businesses how they can and should profit; however, libraries already pay higher costs than the general public, Hudson said. “The new policies would have increased the costs exorbitantly for titles under Macmillan, so our decision allows us to use those funds to expand the library’s collection where our dollar goes further. We have a duty to make taxpayer dollars go as far as possible in serving our over 400,000 cardholders.”

FCPL will continue to purchase Macmillan titles in print and on compact disc, as federal law protects sales to libraries in those formats.

FCPL joins many public libraries nationwide that have elected not to purchase eMaterials from Macmillan including

  • Arkansas Digital Library Consortium (AR)
  • Charleston County Public Library (SC)
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library (OH)
  • Des Moines Public Library (IA)
  • King County Library System (WA)
  • eLibraryNJ (NJ)
  • Multnomah County Library (OR)
  • Nashville Public Library (TN)
  • Reading Library District (PA)
  • Topeka andShawnee County Public Library (KS)
  • Yolo County Library (CA)

More information including the list of imprints and authors under the Macmillan umbrella is available in the library’s online guide: eBooks: Inside the Industry.

More information about library responses and impacts can be found on the American Library Association website, including the eBooks For All petition currently supported by nearly a quarter million signatures.

high-angle-photo-of-person-reading-an-e-book with #eBooksForAll text Read full article December 2, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/ebooksforall.jpg 1
Library Collects Donations in December for Popular Food for Fines Program

Food for Fines

A recent Fairfax County study revealed 8.4 percent of students reported going hungry in the past month due to a lack of food in the home, a factor which impacts a child’s ability to learn.

With the library’s commitment to literacy and learning, it made perfect sense to partner with Food for Others, a not-for-profit food pantry and food rescue operation, during the month of December to serve Fairfax County families living with food insecurity.

Anyone, including customers without fines and community members without library cards, can support their neighbors by bringing canned goods and other non-perishable items to their nearest library branch. Donations can also reduce or eliminate fines accrued on an individual’s library card account. Each item donated will erase $1 from a patron’s overdue fines up to a maximum of $15 per account.

Jessica Hudson, Director of Fairfax County Public Library, hopes this year’s food drive will be even more popular than 2018’s. “Last year was the first time we offered this program, and we collected 12,000 pounds of food for Food for Others,” said Hudson. “We’re hoping to top that this year.” A little interbranch competition could provide additional incentives in the community. “The branch that collects the most amount of food earns a pizza party for the staff,” said Hudson.

Non-perishable food items most needed include canned meats and tuna, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, stew and chili (canned), pasta and rice, pasta sauce, canned fruit, beans, fruit juice and vegetable oil. This year non-food items such as shampoo, deodorant, diapers, paper towels and toilet paper are also welcome.

Find your nearest library branch.

Jessica Hudson talks to Fairfax County Channel 16 about this year's Food for Fines (video).

Food for Fines Read full article December 1, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/food_for_fines-1000x480.jpg 1
Library Now Offers Children’s Books in Chinese, Arabic, Urdu and Tamil

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The new books are part of a special “World Languages Bags” collection.

Worried about reading to children in your native language? Don’t be. It is easy for children to learn to read, write and speak English if they have a strong foundation in any language. For adults who may be more comfortable reading to children in Arabic, Chinese, Urdu or Tamil, the library offers World Languages Bags, a project funded by the Fairfax Library Foundation, Friends groups and other community donations. These bags are available with picture books, board books and easy readers. Each bag contains eight books that adults can read again and again to and with children. The library’s collection already supports children and adult books in Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese.

“The library is committed to ensuring residents in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax have equitable access to library materials,” said Dianne Coan, Director of Operations for the library. “By starting with early literacy materials, including bi-lingual books, the new World Languages Bags support parents, grandparents and caregivers who want to read to young children — a proven strategy for ensuring children are ready to read by the time they enter kindergarten.”

The World Languages Bags are one more element in the library’s comprehensive support of early literacy education. In addition to its popular early literacy storytimes the library offers early literacy outreach, the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, picture books and other educational books and resources — including the Ready-to-Read newsletter — for families raising young children.

The library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program encourages families to read 1,000 books to children before they start elementary school. Studies show the more vocabulary and oral language children have, the better prepared they are to learn how to read and write when they enter kindergarten.

Instructions for placing a hold on the World Languages Bags in the library’s new catalog:

  1. Type in “picture book bag” on the search bar next to “Keyword search” at the top of the page. Then click the search icon. 
  2. The picture books will populate the page. Choose the language you are interested in under “subjects” on the left side of the screen.
  3. Select “PLACE HOLD” to the right of the picture book bag you want. 
  4. Follow the directions to enter your user information, password and the library branch where you’d like to pick up the book bag.

If you need additional assistance, please ask at the library information desk where staff are happy to connect you with the World Languages Bags in your preferred language.

image of bags and books Read full article November 19, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/world%20languages%20bags.PNG 1
'Tis the Season to Get Crafty with Library Activities for All Ages

Light Up Card Craft

Warm Up to Crafts in November and December

As the temperatures outside drop, head to your library for fun indoor activities to keep your hands warm and your creativity flowing — and maybe even DIY a few gifts to start crossing names off your holiday shopping list! From social gatherings and jewelry making to DIY wrapping paper, ornaments and more, many branches have crafting projects and events for kids and adults alike taking place throughout the season. See the full, up-to-date list of events in the library calendar, and check out some crafting highlights below. Asterisk (*) indicates registration required.

Learn, Make and Take

  • Handcraft Club Open House
    Monday, November 18, 7 p.m. at Oakton
    Drop in anytime and bring your favorite handcrafting project or start a new one. Learn from other handcrafters about skills like crocheting, knitting, weaving, and jewelry making. Beginners welcome. Teens-adults.
  • Make and Take*
    Wednesdays, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18, 5 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 23, 2:30 p.m. at City of Fairfax Regional
    Reuse materials and craft supplies to make your own unique masterpiece. Age 6-12.
  • Let's Fly Away!*
    Wednesday, November 20, 4:30 p.m. at Sherwood
    Make some paper airplanes and learn about flying. Grades 4-8.
  • Make Your Own Pet Rock
    Wednesday, November 20, 4:30 p.m. at George Mason Regional
    Transform an ordinary rock into a book character like Dog Man or Harry Potter, or make a one-of-a-kind pet. Supplies provided. Ages 6-12.
  • Treat Yo'Self 101: DIY Lip Balm*
    Friday, November 22, 5 p.m. at Sherwood
    As part of the teen Treat Yo'Self 101 series, you'll learn how to make your own lip balm using a few simple ingredients and a microwave. Grades 7-12.
  • Saturday Crafterday: Marimo Moss Jars
    Saturday, November 23, 2 p.m. at John Marshall
    Make your own terrarium with Marimo moss (while supplies last). Adults and teens.
  • Crafternoon
    Wednesday, November 27, 3 p.m. at Patrick Henry
    Don't spend your day off from school moping around at home — head to the library to make crafts galore. We'll provide the supplies and space, you provide the creativity. All ages.
  • Handcraft Club Speaker Series: Toothbrush Rug Braiding
    Tuesday, November 26, 6:30 p.m. at Herndon Fortnightly
    Learn the art of making a Toothbrush Rug using an old Scandinavian technique. Feel free to bring your own lightweight fabric and scissors or use what we have available. The fabric will be torn into 1-inch strips and pieced together and you will leave with coaster. Adults.
  • Passport to Fun*
    Friday, December 6, 4:30 p.m. at Chantilly Regional
    Travel the world exploring different languages and cultures through crafts and games with the Chantilly High School Language Honor Societies. Grades 1-6.
  • Crafternoon
    Saturday, December 7, 2:30 p.m. at Dolley Madison
    Make and take a unique statement necklace that is as fun to make as it is to wear. Space is limited. Adults and teens.
  • Make a Gift with Perler Beads
    Saturday, December 7, 2:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson
    Create key chains and magnets of your own design out of Perler beads. Teens.
  • Pottery with Clay Cafe Studios*
    Saturday, December 7, 2:30 p.m. at George Mason Regional
    Make a mug for yourself or as a gift in this pottery workshop by Clay Cafe Studios. Kids will be given a 30-ounce mug that they can decorate. Grades 3-6.
  • Jewelry Making*
    Monday, December 9, 7 p.m. at Reston Regional
    Tania Ebrahimian will teach the basics of jewelry making and participants will create an original piece in this hands-on workshop. The library will provide the materials. Adults.
  • Saturday Crafterday: Paper Circuit Cards
    Saturday, December 21, 2 p.m. at John Marshall
    Make your own light-up card with copper tape and LED lights. Supplies provided. Adults and teens.

Girls Making Paper Flowers

Stories and Crafts

  • PJ Library Book Buddies*
    Wednesdays, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11, 10:30 a.m. at City of Fairfax Regional
    Enjoy storybooks and crafts about Jewish holidays and values. Cosponsored by PJ Library and Growing Jewish Families of the JCC of Northern Virginia. Age 6 months to 5 years with adult.
  • The Snow Queen Celebration
    Saturday, November 16, 2 p.m. at Pohick Regional
    Celebrate Hans Christian Anderson's epic tale, "The Snow Queen" — the inspiration for many frozen princesses and snowmen — with storytelling, treats, crafts and games. Costumes encouraged. All ages.
  • Stories and More*
    Tuesdays, Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17, 10:30 a.m., at Martha Washington
    Fun with stories, crafts and activities for preschoolers. Age 3-5 with adult.
  • Toddler Storytime
    Tuesday, Nov. 26 and Dec. 10, 10:30 a.m. at Woodrow Wilson
    An interactive storytime for toddlers with songs and a craft. Age 18 months to 3 years with adult.
  • Pajama Party Storytime
    Tuesday, November 26, 6:30 p.m. at Herndon Fortnightly
    Wear your pajamas, listen to bedtime stories and make a simple craft. All ages.
  • PJ Library Book Buddies Storytime*
    Thursday, December 5, 10:30 a.m. at Chantilly Regional
    Enjoy stories and fun with movement and crafts that relate to Jewish culture traditions and holidays. Age 2.5 to 5 with caregiver. Siblings welcome.

Hang Out and Create

  • Maker Table
    During open hours at Chantilly Regional
    Create, Invent and Learn: Visit the Maker Table behind the Information Desk for self-directed projects that change each month. STEAM activities often included. Supplies provided. All ages.
  • Teen Chill Zone
    Thursday, November 21, 3:30 p.m. at Centreville Regional
    Take a break from homework and hang out at the library. Grab a snack, try some relaxing crafts and activities and chat with other teens. Grades 7-12.
  • Teen Chill Zone: Virtual Reality
    Thursday, November 21, 4:30 p.m. at Chantilly Regional
    Feeling stressed out? Take a break at the library! This month there will be Virtual Reality and Google Cardboard sets available to play around on, plus the usual board games, relaxing crafty activities and snacks. Come with a friend, or meet some new ones. Grades 7-12.
  • Craft and Chat
    Thursdays, Nov. 21 and Dec. 19, 7 p.m. at Kings Park
    Work on your favorite craft or try out a new one in a friendly, relaxing atmosphere. Refreshments served. Adults.
  • Teen Chill Zone
    Fridays, Nov. 22 and Dec. 20, 4:30 p.m. at City of Fairfax Regional
    Head to the library to hang out, play games or do a craft activity. Age 13-18.

Crafting Supplies

Celebrate the Season

  • Adult Holiday Craft Event: Book Folding*
    Saturday, November 23, 1:30 p.m. at Herndon Fortnightly
    Make and take a tree or heart using donated books; they're perfect for a holiday decorating. Adults.
  • Family Winter Wonderland
    Saturday, December 7, 11:00 a.m. at Lorton
    Celebrate the start of winter with winter-themed crafts and games. Light refreshments provided. All ages.
  • Holiday Open House
    Saturday, December 7, 1-4 p.m. at Great Falls
    Enjoy festive musical performances by the Langley High School Madrigals, crafts for kids and adults, holiday games and seasonal treats. All ages.
  • Adult Craft Night: Light Up Holiday Cards*
    Thursday, December 12, 7 p.m. at Martha Washington
    Create a unique holiday card that lights up. All supplies provided. Adults.
  • Wheel of the Year: Yule
    Saturday, December 14, 3 p.m. at John Marshall
    It's the shortest day and longest night. Make a craft with us to celebrate the yuletide. Supplies provided. Adults.
  • Noon Years Eve Party
    Tuesday, December 31, 11 a.m. at Kingstowne
    Celebrate the New Year with arts and crafts and a countdown to noon. All ages.
  • Holiday Bookmarks
    Tuesdays, December 3 and 10, 7 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson
    Make colorful, glittery, festive bookmarks, celebrating any holiday or event of your choice. All ages.
  • DIY: Holiday Ornament Making
    Friday, December 6, 1 p.m. at Reston Regional
    Make and take home personalized holiday ornaments. All materials are provided. Adults.
  • Holiday Gifts Make and Take
    Thursday, Dec. 12, 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m. at John Marshall
    Make a gift for someone special or even for yourself. Ages 5-11 with Adult.
  • Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
    Saturday, December 14, 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson
    Get artistic this year and create your own wrapping paper. Transform plain white butcher paper into personalized gift wrap using crayons, markers, stickers, glitter and more. All ages.

Knitting

  • Chantilly Knitting Club
    Tuesdays, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, 7 p.m. at Chantilly Regional
    Bring your knitting or other crafting projects. Share tips and enjoy conversation. No formal instruction, but chances are someone in the group can teach you to knit, or help you when you get stuck on a project. Adults.
  • Yarn-aholics
    Wednesday, December 4, 7 p.m. at George Mason Regional
    Calling all knitters and crocheters: join fellow yarn-aholics to discuss, learn and share ideas and projects. Teens and adults.
  • Knitting Group for All
    Monday, December 9, 1 p.m. at Patrick Henry
    Bring your knitting projects, share tips and enjoy conversation. Adults.
  • Twisted Stitchers
    Tuesday, December 10, 7 p.m. at Burke Centre
    Get together to knit, crochet, loom or craft while meeting new people. We make items for ourselves as well as items for donation to charity groups. Adults.
  • Knit 2Gether
    Tuesday, December 17, 7 p.m. at Centreville Regional
    Bring your knitting projects, share tips and enjoy conversation. Adults.

*Registration Required

Light Up Card Craft Read full article November 8, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Crafting1a.jpg 1
28,000 eAudiobook Titles Ready for Listening

car dashboard

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!

book covers

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RBdigital Unlimited Read full article May 15, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/hero-slideshow/rbdigital-book-a-day_0.jpg 1
Library Awarded Two National Awards

Fairfax County Public Library and its award-winning staff were recently recognized for their work in library services.

Allie Beth Martin Award

Sondra Eklund, youth services manager at the City of Fairfax Regional Library, has been awarded the 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. Eklund 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. The Newbery committee selects the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” each year. She also started a Newbery Book Club for young readers at her library. (This club will start up again October.) The 2018 Newbery Medal went to Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.

Gordon M. Conable Award

Fairfax County Public Library was awarded the Gordon M. Conable Award, 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.” The award includes $1,500. 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:

FCPL

  • JJ Dickinson
  • Sarah Souther
  • Rebecca Wolff
  • Lorri Culhane (former employee)

Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

  • Julie Shedd
  • Samantha Borders

Read the full news release online

Highway Sign Award Read full article March 26, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/award-275x183.jpg 1
Four Ways to Celebrate Presidents Day with the Library

Presidents of Mount Rushmore

Did you know that John Tyler had 15 kids? Or that Warren Harding wore a size 14 shoe? Whether or not you’re a presidential history buff, the library has many resources for Presidents Day.

The library will be closed on Monday, February 18, in honor of George Washington Day (which is what the Commonwealth of Virginia officially calls Presidents Day—Washington was born in Virginia, after all). But there are still ways you can celebrate the day with the library.

1. Read Up on Presidential History

There’s no shortage of historical nonfiction about American presidents. The library has more than 2,800 books about American presidents in its catalog. Need to narrow it down? Here’s a suggested biography of every single U.S. president. From Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow to Lincoln by David Herbert Donald, many award-winning titles are represented.

There are also several presidential biographies available as eBooks, from Calvin Coolidge to Ronald Reagan. Using your library card, you can check these eBooks out online at any time through the library’s digital collections on OverDrive.

Prefer your presidents in fictional form? There’s also the themed book list of Fictitious Presidents and Events. You’ll find plenty of Tom Clancy presidential thrillers but also the Man Booker prize-winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.

2. Conduct Presidential Research of Your Own

If all of the presidential books above have you inspired to launch your own research effort, the library offers access to online databases for all library card holders.

Biography in Context offers resources for every American president, including websites, academic journal articles, news stories, videos, images, primary source documents and more.

You can search several different online newspapers to read news accounts about presidential events and news. The Washington Post archives go back to 1987 and The New York Times dates back to 1980. An historical archive exists for both papers, with Post coverage back to 1877 and Times coverage dating back to 1851.

3. Attend an Event About Presidents from Virginia

Don’t miss a chance to hear from a historian, archaeologist and author in person. Richard Byrd Library will be hosting Patrick O’Neill on Monday, February 25, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. He will be talking about the birthplaces and homes of the eight Virginia-born presidents at Virginia’s Presidential Homes.

4. Help the Kids with Their Presidents Day Homework

Of course there are many Presidents Day resources available for kids, too. Many titles are available in the branches to teach children about the history behind the holiday and even more are available on George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.

Plus, kids can read more about their favorite presidents online through the library’s subscription to Scholastic Go! There, children can see articles, images and videos on American presidents. The Gale Virtual Reference Library also offers resources on American presidents.

Presidents on Mount Rushmore Read full article February 7, 2019 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Presidents-Day-Mount-Rushmore.jpg 1
ROI Report: A Business Case for the Fairfax County Public Library's Value to the Community

Library card with dot designIn FY2017 the library’s 23 branches, including *Access Services branch and the **Virginia Room, provided $244.5 million in resources and services to county residents, including educational programs and materials, events, digital media and research databases.

For every one dollar invested in the Fairfax County Public Library, the community receives $6.51 in the form of access to resources, programming, services and technology. This figure was calculated by dividing the total value of library resources and services delivered ($244.6 million) by the FCPL FY2017 full budget of $37.6 million.

The value of library materials and services was determined using a Value Calculator based on the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Value Calculator, average estimated valuations for books and digital media by other large library systems, and by input from its staff collections experts.

Below are examples of library programs and resources that are improving the quality of life for library customers.

A Diverse, Well-Rounded Collection Available in Varied Formats and Languages

FCPL circulates more than 10 million physical items and more than 1.5 million electronic items each year with the latter number continually growing.

According to data collected for FY2017, 3.45 million adult books were borrowed at a value of $58.76 million; 395,078 young adult books borrowed ($4.74 million value); 5.53 million children’s books borrowed ($94.02 million value); 1.52 million eBooks and eAudiobooks downloaded ($22.92 million value); 197,539 audiobooks borrowed ($2.56 million value); and 5,938 Interlibrary Loan items borrowed ($148,450 value).

Resource Borrowed Value to Community
Adult Books 3,456,929 $58,767,793
Young Adult Books 395,078 $4,740,936
Children Books 5,531,087 $94,028,479
Audiobooks on CD 197,539 $2,568,007
Other Materials 296,308 $5,037,236
ILL from other Library Systems 5,938 $148,450
eBooks and eAudiobooks 1,528,216 $22,923,240

Among fairfax county’s nearly 1.2 million residents, almost 40 percent speak a language other than english at home. The library offers books and periodicals for adults and children in multiple languages.

The library also offers storytime programs in languages other than English as well as bi-lingual conversational classes and language learning classes.

Sensory storytimes designed for children on the autism spectrum or with sensitivity to sensory overload are also available.

GM patron using the AWE reading toolsEarly Literacy: Springboard to Success

Early literacy is part of the library’s strategic emphasis on expanding literacy across all age groups and ethnicities. In FY 2017, 34,528 children attended early literacy programs at a $414,336 value. Early literacy outreach staff and volunteers visited approximately 169 locations (Head Start classrooms, family child care homes and child care centers/preschools) averaging 220 storytimes per month. Library staff and volunteers gave 32,090 books to children, thanks to funding from the Fairfax Library Foundation

Technology contributes to the library’s early literacy program. Nine AWE literacy stations are installed at nine branches, featuring over 4,000 localized learning activities designed specifically for 2-8 year-old patrons.

SRA Logo

More than 27,000 kids participated in the library’s Summer Reading Adventure in 2018.

1000 Books LogoThe 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (a nationwide) program is designed to support early literacy, family bonding and school readiness. It aims to help caregivers prepare children for one of life’s big milestones: kindergarten. Studies have shown that reading to children from birth strengthens their language skills and builds their vocabulary. A child can register for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at any library branch after reading or listening to 25 books. To date, 8,543 children have read or had read to them 25 to 1,000 books. A total of 1,229 have read 500 or more books and 636 have completed the 1,000 books milestone.

Dynamic Partnerships Maximize Impact

The library is partnering with the Fairfax County Public School system to ensure that every student in the county has a library card, and to support early literacy and the No Kid Hungry program.

Boy reading children's book at the library

The library partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles to host DMV CONNECT and DMV2Go making DMV services more accessible for county residents, while the DMV displays library posters in their offices to encourage family members to sign-up for library cards. The library is also working with Fort Belvoir to make it easier for area military families to get library cards.

fun with a nature backpack

Thanks to the Library of Virginia and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the library loans free nature-themed backpacks that enable kids of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature and science. The 32 backpacks contain a parking pass to Virginia’s 36 state parks, pocket guides to plants, a dip net and magnifying lens, a port-a-bug field observation container, star charts and other useful items.

Men using a 3D printerTechnology That Empowers

The library provides free access to information of all types in a wide range of formats. As mentioned, the value calculator includes figures for eBooks and eAudiobooks. In FY2017, the library provided access to 438,890 hours of computer use ($5.27 million value), 1.94 million database searches ($38.65 million value), and 19 STEAM educational kits ($760). Fairfax County Public Library is one of only 49 libraries nationwide to loan over 1 million eBooks in 2016.

Free Wi-Fi at every branch is a valuable library service, particularly since not all households in the county have internet service. Online catalogs, card-swipe payments and self-help kiosks all streamline the customer experience. Printing services are available from library workstations and personal wireless devices. Cardholders can also send print jobs from their laptop or desktop computers at home and pick them up at a local library branch. Four branches provide 3D printing.

Librarian demonstrates digital transfer equipmentThe library provides technology to engage youth and support creativity and innovation. Two branches currently offer teen gaming stations and a third will soon join the ranks. Hands-on events with drones, Sphero-programmable robot balls, Arduinos and snap-circuits are popular. Many branches offer coding classes, maker camps and other types of tech training.

Customers can use the Memory Depot equipment at the City of Fairfax Regional Library and Sherwood Regional Library to digitize photographic prints, negatives, slides and VHS video cassettes.

Other Library Services

Traditional reference services are also included in the value calculator. Librarians provide access to reliable information on almost any topic. Fairfax County Public Library information staff provided an estimated 731,363 hours of reference service in FY2017 ($6.58 million value).

An estimated 50,812 adults attended library programs, such as author book talks, historian-led lectures, health care seminars and financial literacy workshops ($762,180 value). Approximately 13,788 teens attended library programs on topics such as sharpening test-taking skills, resume preparation, job interviewing and book clubs ($165,456 value). 151,249 kids attended storytimes, science and math workshops and themed arts and crafts ($1.059 million value).

The library provides free meeting space to non-profit organizations and individuals for educational, cultural and informational community meetings and programs. In FY2017, meeting room use totaled 135,701 hours ($3.39 million value).

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*The Access Services branch removes barriers to library services for people with disabilities. Its many services include: providing opportunities to learn about assistive technology and equipment, offering books in alternative formats to people with vision impairments and delivering books to readers who cannot visit a local library.

**The Virginia Room, located on the second floor of the City of Fairfax Regional Library, collects and preserves local history resources and provides a broad array of genealogical resources.

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Donations Pour in During Library’s Food For Fines Program

Board of Trusteew with donated food
The Library Board of Trustees participates in Food For Fines at George Mason Regional Library November 2018.

A recent Fairfax County study revealed 8.4 percent of students reported going hungry in the past month due to a lack of food in the home, a factor which impacts a child’s ability to learn.

With the library’s commitment to literacy and learning, it made perfect sense to partner with Food for Others, a not-for-profit food pantry and food rescue operation, during the month of November to serve Fairfax County families living with food insecurity.

Miriam Smolen, Chair of the Library’s Board of Trustees, says the Food for Fines program “helps the library raise food for a worthy cause while raising awareness of an important issue affecting children and learning in the United States.”

“The community has been so generous,” said Smolen. “Since November 1, more than 4,000 items have already been dropped off at our branches.”

Anyone can support their neighbors by bringing canned goods and other non-perishable items to their nearest library branch. Donations can also reduce or eliminate fines accrued on the individual’s library card account. Each item donated will erase $1 from a patron’s overdue fines up to a maximum of $15.

Non-perishable food items most in need include canned meats and tuna, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, stew and chili (canned), pasta and rice, pasta sauce, canned fruit, beans, fruit juice and vegetable oil.

Visit the branch locations webpage for a list of library branches.

Priscille Dando, Library Board of Trustees
Priscille Dando, FCPS representative on the Library Board of Trustees

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