Fairfax County, Virginia

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Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,

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Register for the First Josh Bell Book Club Discussion

Josh Bell Book ClubFairfax County Public Library is excited to announce the opening of registration for Josh Bell’s Book Club, a partnership between FCPL and the Washington Nationals. Library cardholders can now register for the first book discussion with Josh Bell to be held virtually May 23 at 7 p.m. Registration opens to the general public on May 14. Check out May's book, The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance by H.A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl.

Make sure to register with the email address that is associated with your Zoom account. Register now!

Nationals fans, book lovers and anyone exploring self-improvement, seeking out good, or pursuing progress: Josh Bell's Book Club is for you. Bell has has purposefully chosen books for his club that offer concepts, mindsets and inspiration for being and becoming better. Books – Betterment – Progress is a continuum: we can learn through books, we can become better and we can achieve progress.

Each month Bell will announce another book in this season-long series. Read the book and join Bell and librarians from FCPL and Prince George's County Memorial Library in engaging discussions about what resonated. Check back often to register for the virtual book discussions and to see which books are next in this series.

We and Josh Bell look forward to seeing you on May 23!

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Honoring Former Trustee Will Jasper

Isaac FeldmanFairfax County and Virginia state officials gathered Thursday to honor Willard Owen Jasper, a longtime Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) Trustee for Lee District.

First appointed to the board in 2004, Jasper served as a trustee for 16 years before he passed away on Oct. 4, 2020, after a brief illness.

A conference room at the John Marshall Library in Alexandria now bears a plaque in Jasper’s honor. The current FCPL Board of Trustees voted to confer the honor.

Naming a free, public space after Jasper is appropriate, as in life Jasper felt it was important that community members had a place to gather, said Fran Millhouser, chair of the FCPL Board of Trustees .

“The best thing about naming something after someone is people say, ‘Who was this guy? Who was this woman?’ and then you get to tell the whole story and they get to reflect about how they can take a time piece of Will’s personality,” said Jeffrey McKay, chair of the county Board of Supervisors.

He was always happy to see Will on the list of people with whom he was meeting on a given day, McKay said. The world needs more positive people like Jasper, the chairman said.

Former Congressman Jim Moran echoed McKay, recounting stories of Jasper’s calm, positive demeanor.

Jasper’s grandson spoke on behalf of the family. “He knew how to show up for his community, and his family,” said Isaac Feldman.

Will Jasper's family Read full article May 10, 2021 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/Jasper_0.jpg 0
Llama y escucha un cuento!

Llama y escucha un cuento!A partir de este mes, la Biblioteca Pública del Condado de Fairfax (FCPL) ofrecerá el servicio de Dial-A-Story. Los clientes podrán llamar y escuchar los cuentos leídos por los bibliotecarios de FCPL. Los cuentos se ofrecen tanto en inglés como en español.

Este servicio permite a los padres y cuidadores que limitan el tiempo que los niños pasan frente a la pantalla o que no tienen acceso a Internet a que puedan escuchar los cuentos a través del teléfono. Los cuentos están dirigidos a niños de 3 a 5 años y cada dos semanas se agregarán mas a la lista.

¡Marque 703-246-book (2665) ahora para escuchar! El mensaje inicial está en inglés, marque el numero “2” para español.

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Dial a Story!

Dial A StoryBeginning today, Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) is offering a Dial-A-Story service. Customers can call in and listen to stories read by FCPL librarians. Stories are offered in both English and Spanish.

This service enables parents and caregivers who are limiting screen time or who don’t have access to the internet to view Storytimes. Stories are geared to children ages 3 to 5 and will be added in two-week rotations.

Dial 703-246-BOOK (2665) now to listen! The initial prompt is in English and then a caller presses “2” for Spanish.

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Congratulations to FCPL's 2021 Staff Excellence Award winners

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees on Wednesday evening honored several staff members with its annual Staff Excellence Award.

Customers nominated their favorite staff members this February, and a board committee selected winners from nearly 100 nominations honoring staff members from nineteen branches and the FCPL administration. Board members introduced each winner and shared a portion of the nomination during Wednesday’s virtual meeting.

2021 FCPL Staff Excellence Award Winners:

  • Kevin Brooks – FCPL administration
  • Wanla Freer – Reston Regional
  • Jan Harrod – FCPL administration
  • Ginger Hawkins – Patrick Henry
  • Andrew Pendergrass – Pohick Regional
  • Sujatha Perakalapudi – Reston Regional
  • Charlotte Reineck – Martha Washington
  • Barbara Rice – Kingstowne
  • Kylie Sparks – Chantilly Regional
  • Sailaja Vedula – Oakton
  • Laura Wickstead – City of Fairfax Regional

Honorable mentions went to the entire curbside pickup team at Pohick Regional Library and to Sarah Souther at the George Mason branch.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you for your service to Fairfax County.

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FCPL Materials Now Quarantined for 24 Hours

FCPL is reducing the quarantine period for our materials to 24 hours, as recommended by the Virginia Department of Health. Please give our staff two or three days to check in materials before ensuring your returned titles have cleared your account.

For information on managing your account, please visit the account overview page.

Library staff are available to answer your questions in real time, via web chat or text, five days a week. Learn more about this service by visiting the Ask Your Library page.

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Text Us Your Library Questions

Ask Your Library is now available by SMS textBeginning today, you can text your Fairfax County Public Library account questions to:

571-556-5025 — Viewing on mobile? Tap to try it out!

Receive answers in real time 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

If it's not during the real-time hours, you can still send a text! A ticket will be automatically generated and we'll respond when available.

Learn more about this service by visiting the Ask Your Library page.

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What It Takes to Choose a Newbery Medal Winner

Photo of Sondra Eklund "What It Takes to Choose a Newbery Medal Winner" with book cover of Merci Suárez Changes Gears

An FCPL librarian shares her experience on the esteemed book award’s selection committee.

Recognizing Excellence in Children’s Literature

Last month When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller joined the ranks of renowned American children’s books when it was announced as the 2021 Newbery Medal winner — making it the 100th winner of the prestigious award. The Newbery Medal, named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery and introduced in 1922, is awarded annually “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Revealing the Selection Process

If you think deciding which is the year’s “most distinguished” children’s book sounds like a tremendous task, you are absolutely right. Anita Toth, youth services assistant at Burke Centre Library, talked to a fellow Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) staff member who knows firsthand what it takes to help choose a winner. Sondra Eklund, youth services manager at City of Fairfax Regional Library and 2019 Newbery Award Selection Committee member, shares her experience in the following interview.

Read the Interview

Anita: How did you get started as a librarian and become interested in being on the Newbery Award Selection Committee?

Sondra: I have a master's degree in math from UCLA from 1987; I taught college math for 10 years. But my husband got transferred to Germany, and I got a job in the base library. I loved it! After we got divorced and left Germany in 2006, I decided to get my Master's in Library Science (MLS). I studied hard and completed my MLS at the end of 2007.

Meanwhile, the American Library Association (ALA) 2007 Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C., and I went to the Newbery Banquet and heard [author] Susan Patron speak about her book The Higher Power of Lucky [winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal]. I realized I was listening to the group that chose the Newbery winner, and I was amazed at their stories. I wanted to do that.

After three tries, I was accepted in 2012 to attend the William Morris Seminar, which teaches you about being on book evaluation committees like the Newbery committee. After that it took me only two tries to get on the Newbery committee itself [for which the ALSC membership elects eight members each year].

It is a very time-consuming process, and everyone is so anxious to know if they have been chosen. You put your name in to be considered in March and you don’t hear anything until September when you find out if you are on the ballot. The first time I was very close to being elected to the committee, but I wasn't chosen. I did not give up, though, and in March of 2016 I put my name in for consideration again.

That September I received a message that I was on the ballot. I was so excited and bursting to tell someone, but I couldn’t say anything until the ballot was officially announced. The day the announcement was made, I posted the news on my blog, Sonderbooks right away! I realized I needed to get my name out there, so I attended ALA Midwinter Meeting to campaign [for my election to the committee]. I handed out business cards and talked to as many people as possible. Having done all I could, I then awaited the results. Voting ran from March to April, and in April 2017 I found out I had made the cut [to be on selection committee for the 2019 Newbery Medal]!

Anita: What’s the evaluation process like? Give me a run-down of the events.

Sondra: The reading year was all of 2018, during which I received more than 600 books mailed to me from publishers. But I had wanted to get a head start on reading, so one of FCPL’s Collections Department selectors, Bethany Richardson, gave me some Advance Reader copies of 2018 books. I was able to start my Newbery reading early thanks to her.

The committee met in January, and we read and read. I kept notes on all the books, and a spreadsheet that listed the title, type of book, genre, short notes on each one, and how many pages I read. I would annotate my top choices. Meanwhile, we sent suggestions of standout titles with detailed notes to the committee members, all the while keeping these suggestions secret from everyone else. I couldn’t even blog about the titles I was reading and my favorite picks. Sometimes, I struggled with certain books and whether they should be considered children’s or young adult literature, and the committee would hash that out. I would have nightmares that I had not found out about some wonderful book that should be considered. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

Anita: How many books did you read?

Sondra: I read almost 1,000 books. I read 281 middle grade books, 79 young adult books, and 594 picture books — for a total of 954 books. I also kept track of pages; I read more than 100,000 pages.

Anita: How did you read that many books and still work full time?

Sondra: When I had a few minutes at work, I'd read picture books. I would read on any day off, on weekends, and at nights until well into the morning. I had no time for family or friends. Thankfully, that year I became an “empty nester.” Also, just before I had been nominated, I heard of something called “silent book clubs.” I started a silent book club that met every week at my church. We would share for a few minutes about what we were reading, and then we silently read our books. Those were my only outings. I wanted to make sure I got all the reading done, so when the committee met again, I would be familiar with all the titles. I even read some books multiple times.

We kept reading and suggesting titles each month throughout the year, and we made sure to read the books the other members suggested. In June 2018 the committee met at ALA [Annual Conference] to practice and go over the discussion process. In October, November and December we officially nominated books, but we did not discuss them yet. Each of the 15 members nominated seven books — three in October, two in November, and two in December — and wrote a few paragraphs for each one explaining why we thought that book was worthy of discussion.

Anita: What happened next?

Sondra: Then the debating began in January 2019, when we all met together in Seattle at ALA Midwinter Meeting. We met in a locked room for three days. We looked only at the books that had been nominated. The ALSC mailed a copy of all the nominated books to Seattle in a locked trunk and only the committee chair had the key.

Anita: It seems so secretive.

Sondra: Yes, we were reminded constantly that we were not allowed to share any information with any one not on the committee.

Anita: Alright. Let’s get down to the voting.

Sondra: During that meeting in Seattle, we debated the merits of each nominated title. We had to be ready to talk about specific excerpts or events from a book to defend why we felt it was a strong competitor, according to the criteria in the Newbery manual. The debate sometimes got heated, but the committee chair would rein us back in or we would break for a few minutes to get some air. We even passed around a stuffed giraffe to hug when we got sad because a particular favorite got voted out! On the first day we discussed all nominees and then voted on which ones would get more serious consideration the second day. When we finished voting, we did a Marie Kondo-style sort and thanked the unchosen books for their service before we put them back in the trunk.

On the final day it was especially hard to narrow things down even more. We not only had to choose just one Medal winner, but we also had to decide which and how many books to name as Honor books. Our committee only chose two Honor Books — which was challenging, since we had read so many wonderful books. We stayed in the room Saturday night until we made the final decision around 10 p.m.

On Sunday we met again to write up the annotations and a press release. We took these to the ALA office, so they would be ready for release after the announcement on Monday. We put the first Newbery Medal and Honor stickers on the chosen books. This was so cool! Then we packed them in a large bag so no one could tell how many books had been chosen and took them to the ALA office.

On Monday, early in the morning, we called the winners. It was so fun to hear the joy in the winning authors’ voices. At 8 a.m. that same day, we announced the winners to the public. Then, in June, there was a banquet at ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., which was a wonderful time to honor our Medal winner and Honor winners. The publishers also hosted dinners for the committee, one with the Honor-winning authors and one with the Medal-winning author, Meg Medina. She asked us about the process, and we got to hear how winning the Newbery Medal had changed her life. It was a wonderful time celebrating together after all our hard work.

Anita: Did anything unique or interesting happen while you were on the Newberry committee?

Sondra: One of the [other committee] members had a baby five days before we went into deliberation. She left the baby with family and joined us. So, while we were arguing about books, she was pumping milk for her baby. We got to meet him at the banquet in June — “our” Newbery baby. Also, during deliberation we all brought snacks from our region of the country, and the committee chair brought fidget toys. So, a lot of snacking and fidgeting happened in that room!

Anita: Would you do it again?

Sondra: I am not allowed to apply again for four years, but maybe one day. It was a lot of work, and I needed to take a break.

Anita: Would you be interested in serving on any of the other book award committees?

Sondra: The short as is “Yes!” Longer answer is that I judge for the Cybils Awards (book blogger awards) most years, and I'm also a member of Capitol Choices, which is a D.C.-area group of librarians who choose the 100 best children’s and young adult books each year. I would really have to figure out if I had the time to devote to another committee. But yes, once you’re part of a book selection committee, it’s hard to not want to do it again. The Mathical Book Prize, which celebrates children’s and young adult books that include math concepts, is one I would love to be part of selecting. This year's winners are actually announced today, February 9! I’m doing a little campaigning to try to be part of that committee, but no official word yet.

Anita: All-in-all, how would you describe your time on the Newbery committee?

Sondra: It was one of the most fantastic and rewarding experiences of my life.

Click here to see the winner and honor winners, as well as the other committee members, from the year Sondra participated.

For more about Sondra's experience with the Newbery Award Selection Committee, listen to her interview on Fairfax County's County Conversations podcast.

Photo of Sondra Eklund "What It Takes to Choose a Newbery Medal Winner" with book cover of Merci Suárez Changes Gears Read full article February 9, 2021 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Newbery%20Medal%20Winner-Thumb.png 0
Honor Your Favorite Library Staff Member

glittery black background with the top of a trophy featuring three gold stars and text Show your favorite library staff member some love!

Has a staff member at your local library branch or one you've interacted with online recommended a new favorite book, helped you with a research project, presented a fantastic virtual program or otherwise provided great service? Nominate them for a Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) Staff Excellence Award using this online form!

Nominations will be accepted Feb. 1-14, and winners will be honored at the March FCPL Board of Trustees meeting.

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'Twas the Night Before New Year

analog clock face approaches midnight with confetti streamers

Enjoy our play on Clement Clarke Moore's classic Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, more commonly known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, as we welcome the new year with hopes for happy new beginnings and offerings of new ways to use and enjoy your library!

'Twas the night before New Year, when all through the library

Not a creature was stirring, no one making merry.

The books were lined along the shelves with great care

In hopes that next year, customers could come there.

This year had been hard, amid COVID-19;

We closed, then reopened and kept it all clean.

Throughout 2020 we had one thing to ask:

“Come inside and check out books, but please wear a mask!”

Thanks to all who abided and kept our staff well;

After many hard months, 2020, farewell.

We look forward to new things: programs and books;

Stuff for all ages; we even bring in cooks!

Inside all winter due to new-fallen snow?

Browse a million+ titles of ours to borrow.

And what to our wondering eyes did appear,

But a Winter Reading Challenge to bring you great cheer!

As you play games and earn badges, time will pass quick;

Or just stick to books; you may each take your pick.

We have classics and new reads; some wild, some tame.

We whistle, and shout, and call authors by name:

Read Steinbeck, read Dickens, read Austen and Tolkien!

Read Gaiman, read Grisham, Atwood and Morrison!

Curled up on your porch, or in the room down the hall;

Just read away, read away, just read them all!

As each month of the new year rolls on around,

We’ll offer new storytimes from neighbors in town;

One Community, Many Stories, it’s called;

Watch on our YouTube, and for new stuff that’s not all!

Read eBooks of the Month with no waits, no holds;

One each for grown-ups and kids, the tales unfold.

First up we’ll share The Only Woman in the Room,

The true story of a quite famous woman whom

You have seen in old movies; she was a film star,

But also, a scientist! It’s Hedy Lamarr.

Kids can read Dara Palmer's Major Drama

About an adopted girl, by author E. Shevah.

Choose eBooks to safely read to your heart’s content

Without leaving your house, it’s how we prevent

The spread of coronavirus in Fairfax.

For social distancing options, we’ve got your backs!

Not sure how to read on your Kindle or phone?

See our website and YouTube where instructions are shown.

Online you will find many more helpful items;

Research tons of topics; learn language and customs.

Discover your family’s past with Ancestry

And use Science in Context for all things chemistry.

But wait, there’s more! Readers, we know how you feel.

Finished a book, seeking the next? Here’s the deal:

Our readers’ advisors will pick out a book

That is just what you want. Go on, take a look!

An advisor who reads the same genre as you

Can make recommendations; more than a few!

As we prepare to enter 2021,

These are some ways FCPL can help make it fun.

We hope you find something that brings you much delight;

Now “Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!”

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