|Cozy up With 12 Holiday-Inspired Short Stories for Teens
Fend off winter chills and social-distancing slumps with a collection of heartwarming, bite-size tales.
By Cristina Olson, School-Age and Teen Services Assistant
Light on Length, Big on Fun
Are you looking for a great read but don’t have the free time (or, perhaps, the inclination) to read a long book? Turn to short stories! For a collection that’s filled with all the holiday feels, check out My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. A dozen short stories by 12 bestselling young adult writers all wrapped up into one book makes this the perfect read for those in the mood for winter romance, catharsis or just a dose of the warm and fuzzies. As these stories take you through almost every emotion, you may find yourself crying, laughing, feeling angry or joyful —but always wanting more as you read each distinct tale.
The well-known young adult authors featured include Holly Black, Matt de la Pena, Laini Taylor and more, and a highlight of the collection is their engaging characters. These authors introduce us to unique, diverse teens and showcase some compelling family dynamics. There is something (and someone) for every reader. My True Love Gave to Me has a little bit of every genre — from realistic fiction and fantasy to mystery. Skip around to read all of your favorite kinds of stories or challenge yourself to read straight through and maybe discover a new favorite genre. For added entertainment, search for the couples from each of the stories skating on the pond on the cover of the book! Whose story will be your favorite this season?
"If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you're going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Years, there's something here for everyone. So, curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love." (Provided by publisher)
Click here to find My True Love Gave to Me as a book, eBook or eAudiobook in our catalog.
||Read full article
||December 18, 2020
|Three Ways to Get Creative With Digital Library Resources
Leverage Fairfax County Public Library’s electronic resources to mix things up and make the most of time with yourself and your home.
By Andrea Spira, Great Falls Library Branch Manager
Whether you have spent the past six months bingeing hours of Netflix, finally reading all those “want to read but not enough to actually read” books you have lining your bookshelves, or manically cleaning out closets, garages and basements, chances are that at this point you’re looking back on that time at home and wondering if you could have used it differently — perhaps a tad more creatively or a bit more effectively.
Fortunately, FCPL has you covered when it comes to ideas, resources and tools to inspire and enable a whole slew of new activities and projects. With a library card, some imagination and a little time, you can get those creative juices flowing and those DIY projects moving forward.
OK, you aren’t Shakespeare (who famously wrote King Lear while in isolation from the Black Death plague), but what better time to dust off that screenplay or map out your version of the great American novel than now? FCPL’s digital collection on OverDrive has nearly 20 electronic titles on writing, including classics like Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott, On Writing by Stephen King, and The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr.
For a more systemic approach, turn to the Universal Class online database. It offers nearly 60 courses in general writing skills and more than 15 courses in creative writing, including: Novel Writing 101; Romance Writing; Mystery Writing; Writing the Great American Short Story; Humor Writing; Poetry Writing; and even Paranormal Romance Writing. There is, quite literally, something for everyone. All courses are self-paced, and library cardholders can sign up for multiple courses at a time. Choose to enroll in courses “video only” (essentially like auditing a course) or take the full course with assignments, tests and access to student forums.
As an industry, arts and crafts has experienced a boom during the pandemic. Sales of crafting kits skyrocketed and how-to videos on YouTube — like those created by FCPL staff — are racking up record high views. No doubt about it; Americans are getting crafty, and you can be too! OverDrive offers how-to eBooks on a wide range of arts and crafts for kids and adults alike, from knitting, crocheting and quilting to stamping, mosaics and papercrafts. You name it, the library can help you make it. So, knit away with titles such as Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor and French Girl Knits Accessories by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, or try your hand at other activities with Washi Tape Crafts by Amy Anderson or Sweet Paper Crafts by Molly Greene.
Universal Class also offers structured courses on handicrafts that will help you bring out your inner creative. Options include Knitting 101, Acrylic Painting 101, How to Draw, Western Calligraphy, Soap Making and Photography 101.
Get Home Handy
For many of us, our homes have never been more integral in our lives than they are now. While they serve as safe havens and sources of comfort, staying safer-at-home has meant plenty of time to notice all those less-than-ideal things — big and small — that could use a little attention. A great place to start your research and planning is the Home Improvement Reference Center online database. Log in with your library card to access a collection of books, magazines, images and videos to help with basic home maintenance, renovation and improvement as well as a library of indoor and outdoor projects to tackle.
FCPL's e-magazine collection is another valuable home improvement resource. Download current and back issues of Dwell and Architectural Digest for inspiration and Do It Yourself Magazine and Family Handyman for the detailed how-to.
Finally, if you discover you need something done in your home that you can’t tackle yourself, be sure to take a look at Consumers' Checkbook. You’ll find unbiased reviews and undercover price research on services in the Washington, D.C., area, to help you navigate the challenges of finding the right companies to help with those larger or more difficult projects. Normally available in-branch only, Consumers' Checkbook is accessible at home while the library operates under the express service model.
So, no more excuses. Log in, sign up and get started today!
||Read full article
||September 30, 2020
|Library Pandemic Logistics: A Summer Rush for the Receiving Team
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have taken on tasks that aren’t usually their responsibility — and the library is no different.
During Fairfax County’s initial coronavirus response, FCPL’s receiving department became the library’s hub of logistics. Instead of processing books, this team received shipments of various disinfectant supplies, masks, face shields and more. They then ensured distribution to all branches.
While most county employees teleworked, FCPL’s receiving team remained open at least one day a week to accept deliveries of new books. The library shifted its purchasing to digital titles in response to the governor’s stay-at-home and safer-at-home orders, but printed materials ordered prior to March were still incoming.
FCPL re-opened to the public for Express Services on July 13, at which point the receiving team returned its focus to books just in time for a major rush. This year, the team’s busiest month was August, since publishers had postponed the releases of many books from April, May and June to later in the summer.
During August, the FCPL receiving department accepted and confirmed more 23,000 items, representing about 2,400 titles. That meant opening and unpacking more than 800 boxes. During one four-day period, nine pallets of books and additional smaller shipments were received.
Now you know the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into making your library continue to function and your favorite titles remain available during this year's stay-at-home and safer-at-home routines. For more behind-the-scenes looks at how books become library books, check out the Collections Development story from the summer issue of Branch Out magazine, and stay tuned for the next installment coming in the winter issue for a closer look at the receiving process!
||Read full article
||September 28, 2020
|Job Hunt From Home With Help From Your Library
Access free online training and job search tools 24/7 with your library card.
By Elaine Duke, Library Information Assistant at Herndon Fortnightly Library
Support to Help You Stand Out
Fairfax County Public Library’s nearly 100 research databases cover a wide variety of topics — from car repair and literature to genealogy — and include dozens of online resources for career training and job searches.
Start with the databases below, and use the “Search for Databases” function in the blue bar at the top of the A–Z Online Resources page to quickly reach these and your other favorite databases.
Looking for a job? Search AtoZ Databases for current openings. Thinking of starting your own business? Use it to see what companies already exist in the area.
Click on the “Intro Videos” option on the menu bar at the top of the homepage to find videos that will provide guidance and help you maximize your search. Additionally, the Reference Desk tab on the top menu bar will link you to the AtoZU Training Center and a variety of webinars design to help you capitalize on the information compiled by AtoZ Databases.
Peterson’s Career Prep
Turn to this new-to-FCPL database to learn about careers, receive personalized career assessments, create professional resumes and cover letters, search for jobs, explore schools and training programs, and get advice to help find a job or advance your career.
The Peterson's Career Prep homepage is divided into three sections: “Create a Resume” will take you to an intuitive resume builder tool complete with templates; “Find a Career” leads to a self-paced guide including questions to help identify career paths that match with your personality and direction; and “Advice,” featuring a Virtual Career Library of individual modules to lead you through the career-seeking process.
LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda.com for Libraries)
Could your resume use a makeover? Do you need to update your interview skills? LinkedIn Learning offers video tutorials on resume writing, cover letters, networking, interview techniques and more.
Browse the collection of courses to find hundreds of free training opportunities, including:
- “Finding a Job During Challenging Economic Times”
- “Job Search Strategies”
- “Skilled Trades: Resumes and Portfolios”
- “Job Hunter’s Networking Masterclass.”
- “Excel Tips Weekly”
Whether you’re looking for a job similar to something you have done in the past or for something new that better utilizes your strengths or fulfills your passions, Career Transitions is a great place to start your research and planning for entering a new field.
Click the “Take a Tour” button at the top right corner of the homepage to get an extensive overview of what Career Transitions has to offer. Resources include “Tips & Advice” and “Interview Simulation,” and you can watch short interviews with professionals in “Daily Leap” videos.
*This resource is being replaced by Peterson's Career Prep and will not be available after September 30, so log in now to take advantage of the Career Transitions features.
Need assistance accessing any of these resources? Ask Your Library!
||Read full article
||September 16, 2020
|Explore New StoryWalks at Chantilly Regional and Martha Washington Libraries
Fall for two new stories displayed in interactive book trails at the Chantilly and Martha Washington library branches.
Get the family outside, active and reading with a fun, social distance-friendly way to spend an autumn day — Fairfax County Public Library’s children's picture book StoryWalks®.
Chantilly Regional Library's StoryWalk now features Being a Good Citizen by Mary Small. "In this endearing character education tale, readers learn about the different things they can do every day to be a good citizen, including having manners, strong values, and helping local government. Through charming illustrations and supportive, read-aloud text, young learners will discover a pride in their community and themselves" (publisher's note). To find it outside the branch, look for the flamingos and follow along to the left of the building.
The latest story at Martha Washington Library's interactive trail is Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming. The book follows Mr. McGreely, who — after planting the garden he has dreamed of for years — tries to find a way to keep some persistent bunnies from eating all his vegetables. Make an express stop in the branch after completing the StoryWalk to pick up the accompanying bunny nose take-and-make craft.
StoryWalks combine the pleasure of reading and the joys and benefits of taking a walk outdoors. This self-directed learning opportunity consists of a deconstructed children’s book. Each page of the book is mounted separately, and families walk from one page to the next to read the story. These interactive trails build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy outdoor activity for both children and adults.
StoryWalk® was created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont. She was looking for ways to promote physical activity, early literacy and family time together in nature. With the help of Rachel Senechal, Kellogg-Hubbard Library and the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, StoryWalks were born. Contact your local branch to see if it offers a StoryWalk.
||Read full article
||September 15, 2020
|Learning Languages During Lockdown
There has never been a better time to refresh or build language skills at home.
By Kylie Sparks, Information Services Librarian at Chantilly Regional Library
Changing Tools and Times
Language learning has changed a lot in the past 20 years. It is now possible to learn a language by talking with teachers in different countries using video conferencing or practicing written language skills using shared Google Docs. E-books and audiobooks make reading in another language easier, too, and watching YouTube videos or shows on Netflix in other languages provide endless possibilities for practicing listening comprehension.
You may remember language learning as boring grammar drills in a textbook, but it has come a long way from just that. With this in mind — and with many people currently having extra time at home — now is a particularly good time to start or continue your language learning.
Free Library Databases
The extensive collection of databases accessible to FCPL cardholders covers a wide range of topics, with language learning among them. Mango Languages and Rocket Languages both provide great resources for adults learning another language, including interactive lessons.
Mango Languages presents short dialogues for you to listen to, then asks you to repeat phrases and respond to queries. You can view the written phrases with the parts of speech highlighted in different colors and click on any word to hear it pronounced. Interesting cultural notes accompany the lessons, too. Rocket Languages provides similar learning tools plus vocabulary lists, exercises and flashcards. Learning through these online databases is especially good for beginners, helping them establish a foundation in the new language.
Find Mango and Rocket Languages by searching the A-Z Online Resources list.
Connect with Tutors Around the World
Another one of my favorite resources for learning languages is the italki website. Through italki you can either set up free language exchanges with people in other countries or book paid lessons. Lessons —which vary in cost based on their length and whether you choose a professional teacher or a community tutor — take place using Zoom, Skype or italki’s own video-conferencing software.
Think you don’t speak well enough to talk to a teacher in a new language? Many teachers are skilled at working with beginners, so it’s never too soon to start having conversations. Itaki teachers will provide learning materials (often making use of Google Docs for notes and writing exercises) and can help you to get started the right way. Remember: the fastest way to learn a language is through practice!
Having short daily conversations in your target language — with a fluent tutor to help you make corrections as you go along — is the best way to achieve proficiency. I have now studied three languages using italki and made new friends all over the world.
Phone Apps Put Practice in the Palm of Your Hand
Many great phone apps — including both free and low-cost options — exist for learning languages. Duolingo offers listening exercises and flashcards. Forvo lets you hear the pronunciation of words or phrases by native speakers. Linguee allows you to see multiple written examples of a word or phrase in use and to hear the pronunciation.
These apps offer content for multiple languages, and, depending on the language you study, other apps may be available, too. Look for ones that allow you to read books in your target language to instantly look up words and hear pronunciations while you read.
Find eBooks and eAudiobooks in your target language using free library resources like OverDrive or through paid services like Audible.
Maintaining Motivation and Progress
In order to make progress in any language, learners need to master four different skills: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. Working on all four skills at the same time provides the most beneficial method of study. It can be a bit of a juggling act, but it does not require massive amounts of time. The most important thing is to find learning materials that are interesting and methods that are fun for you.
Many people quit learning a language because they feel bogged down by following only one approach. If you get bored with your practice, try to shake up your approach. Perhaps start listening to music in your target language, and study the lyrics. Or watch your favorite show in your target language, with subtitles in that language. Try reading children’s books in that language, using your preferred videoconferencing tool to do a language exchange, or downloading phone apps like those mentioned above.
Dealing with Interruptions to Your Learning
One thing that throws many learners off is a time gap. You stopped taking that language class five years ago, and now you want to start again. You will likely find beginner materials boring, but you have no idea what level at which to start back up. What can you do?
In this situation the best thing to do is to find someone to talk to in that language. The gaps in your knowledge will quickly become apparent. You may find that you remember a lot of vocabulary but have forgotten the verb tenses, or vice versa. A tutor can help you pinpoint those areas of weakness to guide your study. And you may be surprised by how much you do remember; it usually takes only a few weeks to reactivate your language skills.
Above all, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will make a lot, but that is the only way to learn! If you are willing to try and you put in some effort, you will be amazed at how quickly you can progress. Try to do a little bit every day, as opposed to spending a huge chunk of time at once. Follow what is interesting to you in learning, and take advantage of any opportunities to speak your target language.
Keep in mind that plateaus are a normal part of learning a language. For weeks at a time you may feel like you are getting nowhere, and then, suddenly, your skills will take a huge leap forward. The payoff for all the hard work comes when you have a real conversation in another language — when you laugh, you connect with another person, you help someone, you make a friend, or you learn something new using that language.
Those connections and conversation will make your world so much larger and richer, so don’t hesitate to take the first step in your language learning journey. You don’t even have to leave your couch!
||Read full article
||August 18, 2020
|Free Digital Resources for Understanding and Dismantling Racial Injustice Now
Fairfax County Public Library offers no-wait e-Books and audiobooks on race in America, plus more curated collections and recommended free-to-stream films.
Demand — and therefore wait time — for materials on race and racism have increased significantly in recent weeks as readers seek out books to help them understand racial injustice and learn what they can do to dismantle it. This article highlights resources you can access right now and share with others.
Standing for Social and Racial Equity
The Fairfax County Public Library supports the statements from the American Library Association (ALA), the Public Library Association, and the Black Caucus of ALA in replacing violence and fear with inclusiveness and enlightenment; we support an end to racism towards all people of color.
Your library is committed to the County’s One Fairfax policy of social and racial equity. We provide materials, create community programs, and have spaces that are open and welcoming to all.
The following eBooks, eAudiobooks and films are available with no wait, either through Fairfax County Public Library or other reputable sources.
Read Now: Always Available e-Books and e-Audiobooks
For those new to our eBook and eAudiobook platforms, a getting started with digital materials guide is available.
Various distributors are temporarily providing free access to the following films and documentaries highlighting racial injustice in America. In some cases the creation of a free account may be required to access this content.
- The Hate U Give (on Apple TV, FandangoNow, Google Play, Vudu, Microsoft, Redbox, YouTube): Based on the Young Adult (YA) novel by Angie Thomas, this story offers an intimate portrait of race in America.
- Just Mercy (on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNow, Google Play, Microsoft, Redbox, Vudu, YouTube): Civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free an African American inmate wrongfully convicted of murdering a white woman.
- Selma (on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, FandangoNow, Google Play, Microsoft, Vudu, YouTube): This 2014 film chronicles the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches of the Civil Rights Movement.
Read and Watch Later
Those looking to keep their virtual “to-be-read” (TBR) shelves full can take a look at the following curated collections and place some holds, keeping in mind that not all titles will be available now. Black Voices features fiction and nonfiction for all ages by Black authors, illustrators and narrators. Anti-Racist Reads includes books — many by Black authors — to support learning about and confronting racial inequities.
For materials in print and on DVD, view the collections featured on the FCPL catalog home page. Topics include Black Lives Documentaries, Dismantling Systemic Racism, Civil Rights Reads for Kids, and Teen Titles on Race and Justice. Place holds on these materials and pick them up through Curbside Services when they are available (and you are ready to pick them up).
For more information and recommended resources, visit the library’s Understand & Dismantle Racial Injustice online guide.
||Read full article
||June 12, 2020
|Oral History Interviews: An Inter-Generational Project
Connect the Family and Create Memories with Ideas to Encourage Story Sharing
By Suzanne S. Lapierre, Virginiana Specialist Librarian at the Virginia Room in City of Fairfax Regional Library
A Meaningful Pastime
While schools are closed and many older adults are sticking closer to home for safety, family history projects can help bridge the generations, even over phone or video call. Oral history interviews are an ideal way to jump-start or add color to the family’s genealogical records while giving senior family members a meaningful way to connect with younger generations. The following guides and ideas can help people of any age get started.
Resources for Adults
A good starting points for adults is the FamilySearch Creating Oral Histories wiki. It includes best practices to lead genealogists through this process, including forming a list of questions and choosing the right interview format, as well as ideas for teachers. Another valuable guide is Baylor University’s Texas Oral History Association Selected Links for Learning Best Practices in Oral History, which includes links to online tutorials.
For those embarking on more formal oral history projects, the American Folklife Center offers in-depth guidance on Oral History Interviews, including details such as obtaining release forms and publicity. The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Guide includes creative ideas for presenting findings as a family history cookbook, exhibition, scrapbook, or quilt.
Preserving a loved one’s voice and/or image as part of the interview can add to its value, and there have never been more tools for recording oral history from a distance. Whether recording via Zoom, or deciphering long-distance telephone conversations, Baylor University’s Texas Oral History Association Oral History Technology webpage offers a thorough guide to tackling the technological aspects of an interview. If those options seem overwhelming, Family Tree Magazine offers quick tips on How to Record an Interview on Your Smartphone.
Transcription is important because all media formats eventually become obsolete. Having a typed paper copy as well as a digital recording of the interview better ensures preservation. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries Guidelines for Transcribing and Editing Oral Histories offers a do-it-yourself guide. There are companies that offer transcription services for a fee, such as temi.com (a computer transcribes the audio) or rev.com (a human transcribes the audio).
Resources for Kids
Kids spending time at home may enjoy going on a family history treasure hunt. What are the oldest items in the home and where did they come from? Ask older relatives what they remember about acquiring and using these items. A set of Depression glassware may have begun with a promotional giveaway at a movie theater or inside a cereal box. Vintage dolls, stuffed animals or other toys may bring up memories of growing up in a prior era. Some heirlooms may have been crafted by family members or originate from military service. The stories these can elicit are priceless.
For students from kindergarten up, Reading Rockets Oral History suggests grade-level modifications for oral history projects with lists of books to enrich learning at each level. Suggested extension activities include role playing the person interviewed, creating a poster about the person, making a PowerPoint presentation using video clips from the interview, and scriptwriting to dramatize the story. Family Tree Magazine offers Tips for Interviewing a Relative about Family History.
Follow-up Genealogy Activities for Kids
Families with children may want to supplement the oral history interview with additional projects to explore their heritage.
Oral histories need not be limited to relatives: Children without living grandparents can reach out to older friends and neighbors and interview them about what life was like growing up in past decades.
Finally, for inspiration, check out FCPL’s Virginia Room collection of Fairfax County Oral Histories from notable Fairfax County residents. Transcripts have recently been made available on the website.
||Read full article
||June 10, 2020
|Superheroes in Scrubs: 6 Free Resources to Celebrate the Year of the Nurse
Use eBooks and online content from the library to learn about the profession and the people who form a backbone of our healthcare system.
By Katherine Einspahr, Burke Centre Library Information Assistant
When we hear of people fighting on the front lines, we may not always think of medical professionals — nurses in particular. However, during the current pandemic crisis, nurses are at the leading edge of the battle against COVID-19. They bravely put themselves in harm’s way to care for those who have been infected and make sacrifices to protect the safety of their families, friends and community members.
Earlier this month the annual National Nurses Week celebration took place from May 6 through May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday. Since this year marks the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth, the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.” Additionally, the ANA extended National Nurses Week “to a month-long celebration in May to expand opportunities to elevate and celebrate nursing."
While nurses are always deserving of our gratitude, support and understanding, now is an especially important and appropriate time to express our appreciation to those who have made a difference in our lives. Learn more about nurses and nursing with the eBooks and online resources below, available free to cardholders through Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) — you may be moved to thank a superhero in scrubs who has touched your life or perhaps even inspired you to enter the challenging yet rewarding profession of nursing.
Author Alexandra Robbins describes a dramatic year in the life of four nurses. These uncelebrated superheroes develop strong bonds as they save lives amidst a world of controlled chaos throughout this sometimes surprising window into medical care.
Author Janet Preus reassures preschoolers that nurses and other medical practitioners want to take care of them when they are sick, to help them get better and stay healthy. A lively song and colorful illustrations help to take some of the fear out of visiting these professionals.
This book follows author Theresa Brown through one fast-paced workday in a city’s teaching hospital. During this shift, we meet four patients, whose lives Brown holds in her hands. Publishers Weekly’s starred review states, “Her memoir is a must-read for nurses or anyone close to one.”
Samuel D. Uretsky explores the history behind the current shortage of professional nurses. Although nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, it is a challenge to replace nurses who retire, and virtually impossible to keep up with the expanding role of nursing and an aging population. This scholarly article shares the steps being taken to remedy this situation.
British nurse Jennifer Darlow explains her seemingly negative response to the applause being given to health care workers during COVID-19. She states, “...to me, the clapping is bittersweet.” She clarifies that for years prior to this global pandemic, nurses worked despite staff shortages, long hours and low pay, so a major investment in our healthcare system is long overdue.
From the United States Department of Labor, this resource provides information about the basic medical care that licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses offer in varied settings, ranging from institutions to patients’ homes. It details how you may join one facet of the nursing profession and helps you to appreciate those working in it.
||Read full article
||May 29, 2020
|Fairfax County Public Library Staff Assemble Face Shields and Masks for Local Health Care Workers
During the COVID-19 library closure, FCPL staff are helping meet Fairfax County’s personal protective equipment needs.
By Suzanne S. LaPierre, Virginiana Specialist Librarian at the Virginia Room in City of Fairfax Regional Library
Hard at (New) Work
What are Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) staff working on while buildings are closed to the public during the pandemic? In addition to continued library-related tasks from taking inventory of the collection to answering customer questions via the Ask Your Library online chat service or email, many FCPL staff members are supporting county and volunteer efforts to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet local needs — including assembling plastic face shields for use by the Fairfax County Health Department and sewing cloth face masks for donation to community nonprofits.
Assembling Health Department Face Shields
More than 30 FCPL staff members have joined Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) staff in assembling face shields to support the critical work of the county’s Health Department.
Virginia Room Librarian Laura Wickstead was among those participating in the face shield project. “It was satisfying and a welcome change,” she said. Describing her part in the assembly process, Wickstead explained how she cut vinyl from a roll like Mylar into long strips, then into smaller rectangles to be trimmed into the shields. She also cut elastic into strips and used an iron to melt a piece snipped from large plastic straw onto the end of them, creating a cap that will not slip through a small hole.
“I met some nice folks in NCS and now have faces attached to names for several more library co-workers,” Wickstead added. “And, I didn't look at a computer screen for 24 hours. Bliss.”
Led by NCS Technology Program Manager Robert O'Quinn and Emergency & Support Functions Program Manager Chris Scales, the face shield project initially aimed to use some plastic parts created by the library’s 3D printers in combination with purchased components. When the Health Department requested a change in the face shield design, the team pivoted and reorganized to start assembling the PPE with all purchased components.
As of last Friday, May 8, the Health Department had received 1,000 face shields produced by this project, with the library and NCS team planning to have 500 more assembled by Friday, May 15.
Sewing and Donating Hundreds of Masks
Many FCPL staff members are also hand-sewing cloth face masks for local organizations that have requested PPE through Volunteer Fairfax. By the end of this week, library staff will have sewn more than 720 face masks from donated material and delivered them to 10 different local organizations, including Northern Virginia Family Services, Shepherd Center, Diamond Home Health Care and FACETS.
Librarian Sharon Okrend has been helping organize this community project for the FCPL team, with Librarian Rebecca Wolff stepping in to help deliver the masks. “I know we have at least 60 more masks that have been finished — there are probably much more,” Wolff said. “People are making them faster than I can deliver, so [FCPL Branch Manager] Sarah Garcia is helping out this week.”
The Project is Personal
Library Aide Dorothy Lockwood’s first round of sewing during the pandemic produced 26 masks that she gave to her family and co-workers. Then she turned her focus to making masks for FCPL’s donation efforts. “One of the creators and a co-worker, Librarian Sharon Okrend, alerted me to this project,” Lockwood noted. “To date I have sewn 30 masks and donated extra fabric for the project. This has been a huge help in keeping me sane while doing something I love to do.”
The fabric donated by Lockwood has included a supply her husband gave her as a gift. “For the first time in years, my husband actually gave me fat quarter fabric packs [quarter-yard cuts of fabric cut wide] for Christmas,” she said. “It just so happened that the fabric was perfect for what is recommended to make masks out of. He was just looking for a stocking stuffer.”
Learn More and Get Involved
Fairfax County Public Library staff — including those working on the face shield and face mask projects — know that we are stronger when we work together. Learn how you can support and make an impact in our community on the Volunteer Fairfax COVID-19 webpage, which includes an up-to-date list of nonprofit and public volunteer opportunities and donation requests.
For the latest dates and details about the library’s COVID-19 closure, read this update on library services during the coronavirus pandemic. Visit the Library Services During Closure guide for information about digital resources, virtual programs and online support available while FCPL branches are closed to the public.
Photo captions, from top: Michelle Biwer (FCPL Assistant Branch Manager) and George Cadima (NCS, Technology Center Manager, Yorkville Computer Technology Program) assemble face shields; FCPL Librarian Laura Wickstead assembles face shield components; FCPL Circulation Manager Chahinaz Bouzid assembles face shield components; Staff at Healthworks Northern Virginia’s Herndon Office receive their donation of FCPL-made face masks.
||Read full article
||May 14, 2020