Fairfax County, Virginia

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

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,

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5 Historical Pandemic Books You Can Read for Free (Without Leaving Home)

5 Historical Pandemic Books

Put current experiences into perspective — and find hope through stories of survival and adaptation.

By Katherine Einspahr, Burke Centre Library Information Assistant

Masks, gloves, social distancing and quarantine all seem both new and increasingly familiar to us now. Yet these concepts and their effects on us both physically and emotionally would be just as recognizable to the people of past centuries who suffered through epidemics. Some comfort during this difficult time can come from realizing that throughout history our ancestors survived similar mass-scale disease outbreaks. Individuals and societies were changed, often metamorphosing into a new normal.

Reading about the past can help us put our current experiences into perspective, and it can show us how former generations endured, survived and sometimes even thrived on new paths. The five titles below do just that, spanning from prehistoric plagues through epidemics of the 21st century—and they’re all available as eBooks or audiobooks in Fairfax County Public Library’s digital collection.

#1 - Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Panic of 1918

Very, Very, Very Dreadful book cover

Author Albert Marrin tells about one of the worst pandemics in history, which infected about 500 million people worldwide and killed one-fifth of them. Discover why it was dubbed the Spanish flu, even though it is thought to have initially made its appearance on a military base in Kansas. Vivid vintage photos augment this fascinating account.

#2 - Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Spillover book cover

Three-time National Magazine Award winner David Quammen explains how animal diseases transfer to humans, detailing how a growing human population, environmental destruction, and technology all contribute to ripe conditions for these zoonotic diseases spreading quickly.

#3 - The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

The Great Influenza book cover

This New York Times Bestseller by John M. Barry goes in depth into the 1918 Spanish flu. This pandemic was the first in which science played a major role, and the book explores why the strongest weapon against pandemic is the truth. The author concludes, "The final lesson of 1918, a simple one yet one most difficult to execute, is that... those in authority must retain the public's trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one.”

#4 - Outbreak: Plagues That Changed History

Outbreak book cover

Author Bryn Barnard delves into how past epidemics, like the black death, tuberculosis and yellow fever, altered the course of history. Explicit details along with the revelation of medical discoveries bring history to life for young adults.

#5 - Pandemics: Deadly Disease Outbreaks

Pandemics book cover

Author Michelle Denton describes past pandemics and work that is being done to prepare for handling future ones. Full-color photographs and in-depth sidebars provide young adult readers the opportunity to hear different sides of the issue and reach their own conclusions.

If you are interested in learning from history in order to consider how to move forward during and after COVID-19, search “pandemic” in FCPL’s OverDrive collection to find more digital titles on the subject. The first eBooks and audiobooks shown might be already checked out, but you can place a hold using your library card number to reserve some for future reading. Or select “Available now” in the left menu to see only items currently available for download.

5 Historical Pandemic Books Read full article April 24, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/5-historical-books-pandemics.png 1
Fairfax County Public Library: Remote Access to Learning Resources

Kids Never Stop Learning

Keep kids and teens engaged with online educational tools and activities while schools are closed.

In this time of school closures, expanded online learning and social distancing, your library is here to provide essential resources and online support. We have tons to offer, and it can all be accessed without even leaving your couch.

The library provides access to dozens of online resources to help school-age kids — and adults — stay in the know, research for remote-learning classes, seek homework help, or just engage in fun and educational activities while at home.

Of course, we also have extensive collections of eBooks and eAudiobooks available through Overdrive, Libby and RBdigital. Right now that includes 130 popular titles we’ve added to a special OverDrive list of eBooks and audiobooks available with no holds and no waits (limit 1 per customer at a time, maximum 2-week checkout, no renewals).

Don't have a library card yet? That's okay. Apply here for access to our digital resources.

Magazines & Newspapers

Online Educational Resources

With Fairfax County Public Schools closed, caretakers and students may want to keep up with learning and incorporate education into their days at home. The public library gives you online access to research materials to complete virtual coursework, support independent studies or simply provide engaging reading content to supplement eBook and audiobook options. Begin with the Education category in our Research Databases list, and dig deeper starting with the examples below — they're just the tip of the iceberg. 

Homework Help

Grades K-6

  • Kid's InfoBits meets the research needs of students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 through a graphic interface, a subject search, and full-text, age-appropriate magazines and newspapers on current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history, sports and more.
  • NovelList K-8 Plus is a trusted source of read-alike recommendations specifically for younger readers. It helps kids find books that are just right for their reading level and interests.
  • Scholastic Go! provides credible, accurate, reliable content on almost every core-curricula subject with endless resources for research in a multitude of media. Explore nonfiction texts, world newspapers, videos and more with this easy-to-navigate digital resource designed to strengthen content knowledge, vocabulary, and core proficiency skills.

Middle School and High School

  • CQ Researcher offers in-depth, non-biased coverage of current issues. Topics range from social and teen issues to the environment, health, education and science and technology. CQ Researcher explores a single "hot" issue each week.
  • eBook High School Collection (EBSCOhost) offers full text titles with unlimited access designed specifically to support a quality learning experience for High School students across all academic subjects from History, to Language and Literature, to Science & Technology. Also includes ACT and SAT test preparation guides.
  • Gale In Context: High School is an engaging online experience that merges Gale's authoritative and continuously updated reference content with full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites organized into a user-friendly portal experience.
  • Read It! offers a collection of short informative articles on a variety of topics designed for English Language Learners. Text can be translated into more than 25 different languages or read out loud in English.
  • Science in Context, U.S. History in Context, and World History in Context provide contextualized information on hundreds of the most significant subject matter topics.

Homework Related Websites

  • Visit our collection of Homework-Related Websites for even more on subjects from general reference, international information and statistics to biographies, current events, economics, personal finance, government, history, languages, literature, math, science, speeches, Virginia and writing.

Tutoring and Test Prep

Other Learning Resources for Your Family

Enhanced Gale Resources

Gale is currently offering expanded free access to its interdisciplinary, curriculum-aligned resources for pre-K through undergraduate students. You may be prompted to enter these databases with a password. The password for all is "open." 

  • Miss Humblebee's Academy is an interactive kindergarten-readiness program that introduces children ages three to six to key concepts in math, science, social studies, language and literacy, art, and music. 
  • Gale In Context: Middle School combines reference content with age-appropriate videos, newspapers, magazines, primary sources, and more.
  • Gale In Context: College offers interdisciplinary content that reinforces the development of skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation.
Kids Never Stop Learning Read full article March 18, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/kids-never-stop-learning-online-resources.jpg 1
Celebrate the Season of Renewal: Read the Spring Issue of Branch Out Magazine
Please Note: All Fairfax County Public Library branches are closed until further notice, and all library-sponsored events and programs are cancelled through April 12. In the meantime, we still have tons of digital resources available, including the online version of Branch Out magazine! For more information about library services during the closure, visit

photo of Branch Out spring issue with page turning to Teens section on Renewal

Have You Explored Branch Out Magazine?

Branch Out Spring 2020 CoverAvailable in library branches and other public Fairfax County Government locations throughout the county, the library’s quarterly publication is designed to help community members make the most of Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) resources and services. Each quarter features a unique theme through which library events, technology, collections, databases, activities and more can be discovered and explored. Full listings of branch events are available online and in each branch.

The spring 2020 issue of Branch Out magazine — covering March-May — focuses on the many ways people can find inspiration and information for refreshing, rejuvenating and restoring their mind, body and environment using the library’s resources, services and programs.

Keep reading for an introduction to the Branch Out: Renewal content, then view the entire issue online or visit a library branch to pick up a copy of the magazine.

Let Springtime Inspire Renewal in All Facets of Life

Explore self-renewal, renewable resources, seasonal family activities and more with your library.

Spring Sunshine and Science

With added daylight giving us time to get more things done, warmer temperatures encouraging outdoor pursuits, stronger sunlight to help us soak up vitamin D for healthy bones and immune and nervous systems, and blooming flowers offering proven happiness-boosting benefits, it’s no wonder we feel revitalized, re-energized and rejuvenated in the spring. Even though we can pursue renewal, growth and development at any time throughout the year, the earth’s season of rebirth seems to give us extra energy and motivation to get active, take action and create change.

photo collage of spring flowers, gardening, reading, outdoors activitiesStudies have shown that the longer the sun is up during the day and the more time we spend outdoors, the less mental distress and the more creativity we experience. Plus, if your new year’s resolution involved fitness goals, research indicates that people who work out outdoors enjoy the experience more and therefore are more likely to repeat it — so springing into some fresh air activity might help you stick with your exercise regimen. And while taking walks in nature at any time of the year has proven to slow the heart rate and promote relaxation, some research suggests that spring has an even greater effect on the brain. A 2005 study from the University of Michigan linked spending 30 minutes or more outside in warm, sunny spring weather to higher mood and better memory.

Renew More Than Books

Capitalize on this springtime surge of energy and optimism; don’t limit your renewal to only checked-out materials or typical “spring cleaning.” Reengage your mind with self-improvement, mental health, career-oriented and educational resources at the library. Refresh your home and garden with our books on decluttering, framed art lending library and Master Gardener workshops. Recommit to eco-friendly living through upcycling events and zero-waste ideas. Reactivate your body and reach health and fitness goals with StoryWalks, workout DVDs and in-branch classes.

Whichever facets of your life you’re inspired to renew this spring, let the library help you learn the why’s and how’s of pursuing those goals — or help you discover new ideas to explore. Read through this issue of Branch Out to learn about the clubs, programs, materials and other opportunities available to support renewal of your mind, body, environment and more, now and in all seasons of life.

quote about spring cleaning by Margarita Tartakovsky, M. S., Psych Central

Renewal Resources

Throughout the magazine we share many ways you can renew passions, find new ones, jump start creativity, discover new perspectives, learn new skills and more using library resources — starting with the options listed here.


Replenish your news and current events awareness. The library’s US Major Dailies database provides free access to the five most respected U.S. national and regional newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post, co-exclusive access to The Wall Street Journal and exclusive access to the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Visit to start reading.

Career and Business

If your 2020 goals include career growth or business projects, the library’s research guides are a great place to start your planning and preparation:

  • Visit the Job Seekers and Business guides to find collections of resources for job-hunting, skill development, test prep, industry insights, market research, grant opportunities and more.
  • The Tax Information guide will help you navigate that process and ensure you can focus more time and energy elsewhere this spring.

Home and Auto

Got renovations or repairs on your to do list? Do it yourself with the help of the library’s Home Improvement Reference Center and AutoMate databases. Home Improvement Reference Center offers information and instructions — including how-to videos and full-text selections from books and magazines — on home improvement and repair projects including plumbing, wiring, painting and decorating. AutoMate provides DIY car repair info on most makes and models as far back as 1954, including manuals, service bulletins and diagrams.

photo of Branch Out magazine with page turning to the Teens section on Renewal Read full article February 26, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/branch-out-spring-renewal-spread.jpg 1
Fairfax County Public Library Launches “Common Ground” Campaign

Common Ground Logo

Throughout 2020 Fairfax County Public Library’s “Common Ground” campaign will explore the concepts of community, civic engagement and American politics to help county residents rediscover that we have more in common with each other than we realize.

“The country is currently focused on ideological differences rather than the many values that we share. The library is for the entire community and encourages civil discussion on tough topics,” said Library Director Jessica Hudson. “We invite the entire Fairfax community to join us to remember how to listen to differing viewpoints and look for the common ground, which is almost always there.”

Four system-wide events are the core of the campaign, with library branches planning localized lectures and workshops. Selected books, articles, databases and websites will be shared throughout the year to enhance the exploration of issues on which community members and Americans in general can find common ground. Registration is appreciated for all events.

  1. Making Sense of the Census (postponed) Chris Martin, historian at the U.S. Census Bureau, will share surprising stories of the census’ past, from the impact of the Civil War to the challenges of early computer systems. Count on a revealing look at the why’s and how’s of accounting for the nation’s population.
  2. A Political Party (postponed) Bill Schneider, a U.S. political analyst dubbed “the nation’s electionmeister” by The Washington Times, will provide an overview of the major U.S. political parties. No cakes or lampshades required.
  3. The Electoral College: Necessity or Nuisance? Thursday, May 14, 7 p.m. at Kings Park Library. Dr. Jeremy Mayer, associate professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, will demystify the electoral college and explain its role in U.S. elections.
  4. Redistricting, or Why is My Congressional District Shaped Like a Seahorse? June (date and location TBD) This workshop will focus on the complexities of redistricting: What is it? Who draws the lines? When does it happen? Why is it such a big deal? 

To find more Common Ground events filter by the “Common Ground” category in the library calendar.

Common Ground Logo Read full article February 24, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/common%20ground.png 1
Celebrating Black History at the Library

Black History Month header graphic featuring influential African Americans

Honor and explore the pasts, presents and futures of African Americans with free library programs and events.

During Black History Month, which is celebrated in February, and beyond, Fairfax County Public Library branches are hosting free events and programs for all ages that highlight and explore the deep and diverse history and invaluable contributions and achievements of African Americans. From author talks and history lectures to movies, performances and more, a wide range of programs are taking place throughout the next few months. Plus, February's Outstanding Reads recommendations from our Collections staff focus on Black authors and stories — read them on

Check out the highlights of the schedule below. Asterisk (*) indicates registration required. For a full list of events, view the library’s online calendar.

Consider the Census

As the 2020 census approaches, the library is focusing on the importance of census records not only to determining funding for our public institutions, but also to tracing family histories — including those of African Americans. Visit the library’s Virginia Room, located in the City of Fairfax Regional Library, to discover historic photographs and census records of African American residents of the county.

James M. Goins photo and census from Virginia Room records

The Virginia Room maintains a collection—including maps, an extensive photographic archive, local newspapers and yearbooks, manuscript collections and rare books—documenting the historical record of the people, associations, events and places of Fairfax County, Virginia. Researchers can also use print holdings and online databases to research genealogy from all 50 states.

Find booklists for African American family and cultural history in our genealogy research guide.

Join Us for Events All Month and Beyond

  • Celebrate Black History Month
    February during open hours at Patrick Henry Library
    Drop into Patrick Henry's children's area all month long for coloring sheets, word searches, crossword puzzles and other activities celebrating Black History Month, also referred to as African American History Month. Grades K-6.
  • Adventures in History: Civil Rights Movement
    Tuesday, February 11, 4:30 p.m. at Dolley Madison Library
    Step back in the time to learn about the Civil Rights Movement. Learn history through art, games, stories and skill building exercises. Costumes encouraged. Space is limited. Ages 6-12.
  • Black History Month Movie: The ExpressThe Express: The Ernie Davis Story book cover
    Friday, February 14, 1 p.m. at Martha Washington Library
    Watch the fact-based saga of college football star Ernie Davis (Rob Brown), the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Rated PG. Teens and adults.
  • Bright Star Theatre Presents: African Folktales
    Saturday, February 15, 2 p.m. at Oakton Library
    From the desert lands of the Sahara to the plains of the Serengeti to Mount Kilimanjaro and beyond—join a variety of characters from a wide range of cultures in stories that celebrate the various folk tale traditions of the continent of Africa. African music helps to set the stage for these energetic stories which include Anansi, porquoi tales and many facts and figures about this incredible continent. Grades K-6.
  • Podcast Club: Historically Black
    Wednesday, February 19, 6:30 p.m. at Reston Regional Library
    If you enjoy bite-size stories that you can listen to, join the Podcast Club to discuss a monthly selection of podcasts. With selections of fiction and non-fiction, politics and poetry, there is much to talk about. This month's podcast is “Historically Black: The Washington Post's coverage of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture." You can listen on a computer or a mobile device through any of several free apps. Every month listen to at least four episodes of your choosing of the podcast. Adults.
  • Researching Enslaved Ancestors & Finding Calvin: A Case Study
    Saturday, February 22, 10:30 a.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
    Explore resources to locate and learn about the lives of enslaved people with genealogist Renate Sanders. Researching Enslaved Ancestors, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Finding Calvin: A Case Study, 12-1 p.m. Learn tools and strategies from the general to the specific for identifying and documenting the lives of enslaved people. Adults and teens.
  • Burke Historical Society Presents: Enslaved Women and Midwifery in Early America
    Sunday, February 23, 3:30 p.m. at Pohick Regional Library
    Sara Collini, a doctoral candidate in history at GMU, shares her research on enslaved women’s role as midwives in Fairfax County and the Chesapeake from 1750 to 1820. Adults.
  • I Am Ali: A Documentary Film
    Monday, February 24, 7 p.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
    Join us for the first in a two-part documentary movie series in recognition of African American History Month. "I Am Ali" tells the story of Mohammed Ali's life through voice recordings and interviews from Ali's personal archives. PG. 1 hr 52 mins. Teens and adults
  • Civil Rights in Alexandria: Audrey P. Davis
    Tuesday, February 25, 7 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library
    Audrey P. Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, addresses the local history of civil rights in Alexandria. Sponsored by Vienna AAUW. Adults.
  • Thunder Soul: A Documentary Film
    Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
    Join us for the second in a two-part documentary movie series in recognition of African American History Month. "Thunder Soul" is a tribute to the man who turned Houston's Kashmere High School Stage Band into a funk powerhouse in the early 1970s. "Prof" Johnson's students gather 35 years later to celebrate the man who taught them about honor and pride. PG. 1 hr. 23 mins. Teens and adults
  • Black History Month Movie: Harriet
    Friday, February 28, 1 p.m. at Martha Washington Library
    Watch the incredible true story of Harriet Tubman and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Rated PG-13. Teens and adults.
  • Nikki Giovanni: An Afternoon of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment*Nikki Giovanni
    Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m. at The Alden, McLean Community Center
    Acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni shares her eloquent words of wisdom, spanning topics from the civil rights movement and politics to love, art and more. Discussing the ideals of equality in her dramatic oratory, she shares the experiences and thoughtful poetry that embody her activism and legacy of passion for the arts. Cosponsored by The Alden. Books available for sale and signing. Adults. Tickets for the pre-event VIP reception at Dolley Madison Library and for VIP seating at The Alden are available at
  • Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home
    Saturday, March 7, 10:30 a.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
     is the true story of five boys who were kidnapped in the North and smuggled into slavery in the Deep South—and of their daring attempt to escape and bring their captors to justice. Join us for a talk on this award winning book by author Richard Bell, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland.   
  • African American Genealogy Study/Special Interest Group*
    Monday, March 16, 7 p.m. at Centreville Regional Library
    Join fellow genealogists researching African American ancestors in this facilitated study/special interest group. Share your brick wall challenges and research success stories. We'll learn from each other. A Centreville Regional Library, Virginia Room and Fairfax Genealogical Society program. Adults.
  • History of the African American Spirituals
    Tuesday, March 31, 1 p.m. at Reston Community Center
    Calvin Earl, spokesman for African American Spirituals as a National Treasure, will share stories and songs of how enslaved ancestors embedded their oral history into spirituals for safekeeping. Cosponsored by Reston Regional Library and Reston Community Center. Adults.
  • Cemeteries Tell No Lies: Finding Living Relatives in the Cemetery
    Saturday, April 18, 10:30 a.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
    A cemetery is a place where we bury our loved ones. It is a place that we visit our loved ones on special occasions, but it is also a place we can find living relatives. Join us for a lecture by award winning researcher of African American history and genealogy Char McCargo Bah. Adults and teens.
Black History Month header graphic featuring influential African Americans Read full article January 30, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/BHM-graphic%20copy.jpg 1
Start the Decade Making Cultural Connections at the Library

World Map in Watercolor

Free Library Events Begin the '20s with Celebrations and Observations of Culture and Community.

With a new year and a new decade underway, what better time is there to embrace new opportunities to expand ourselves and our communities, explore the lives and perspectives of others and emphasize the values and experiences we have in common?

Through holiday celebrations, guided conversations, educational lectures, social gatherings and more, events at Fairfax County Public Library this January-March do just that. Join us to start 2020 off on the right foot… and maybe learn something new by stepping into someone else’s shoes.

All are welcome at the library, and all our programs are free. Find highlights of events offering a wide variety of cultural engagement and enrichment below and visit the online calendar for a full list. Asterisk (*) indicates registration required.

Chinese Lunar New Year

  • Lunar New Year Festival
    Saturday, January 25, 3 p.m. at Dolley Madison Library
    Join the Dolley Madison Teen Advisory Board for a celebration of the Lunar New Year. All ages.
  • Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rat
    Saturday, January 25, 10 a.m. at Patrick Henry Library
    Enjoy crafts, foods and fun for all ages in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Join the library and the Northern Virginia Experimental Chinese School for special performances and games, including guzheng music, folk dances, tai chi and yo-yo.
  • Celebrate the Chinese New Year
    Saturday, January 25, 1 p.m. at Richard Byrd Library
    Welcome the Year of the Rat with crafts and activities. All ages.
  • Chinese Lion Dance

    Saturday, February 12020 Year of the Rat Happy New Year
    10:30 a.m. at Burke Centre Library
    1 p.m. at Chantilly Regional Library
    3 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Library

    Saturday, February 8
    10:30 a.m. at Lorton Library
    1 p.m. at Kings Park Library
    3 p.m. at Oakton Library

    Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Lion Dance performances that will demonstrate emotions such as fright, anger, grace and joy through movement in rhythm to the music of a drum, gong and cymbals. All ages.

American Past, Present and Future

  • World War I: Lessons and Legacies | Posters from the Smithsonian*
    Through February 25 at Patrick Henry Library
    In honor of America's entry into "The War to End All Wars" in 1917, the Smithsonian’s poster exhibition World War I: Lessons and Legacies explores The Great War and its lasting impact and far-reaching influence on American life. The war led to pivotal changes in America's culture, technology, economy and role in the world. It redefined how we saw ourselves as Americans, and its legacy continues today. The posters displayed in the branch’s meeting room are available for viewing when the room is not in active use for another program. Call the branch or check at the information desk for times. Adults.

World War I Lessons and Legacies SI historical image

  • American Creed Community Conversation
    Sunday, February 16, 2 p.m. at Pohick Regional Library
    American Creed Community Conversations center around the PBS documentary “AMERICAN CREED” featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice coming together from different points of view to explore ideals of freedom, fairness and opportunity. The film screening will be accompanied by scholar-facilitated discussion designed to foster respectful dialogue about American ideals and identity across all types of deepening divides. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Adults and teens.
  • Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbor
    Saturday, February 29, 11 a.m. at Reston Regional Library
    Meet new friends, celebrate diversity and learn about the culture and history of this community with discussions and a poster exhibit, Forgotten History: Muslims & Early America. Plus, enjoy hands-on activities, including calligraphy and henna, and sample international delicacies with a cup of coffee. All ages.
  • Citizenship Classes and Ceremonies
    See calendar for dates and times at various branches
    Classes focus on topics such as American history, government and culture using library, USCIS and other resources.

Exploring Religion

  • International Hijab Day
    Saturday, February 1, 11 a.m. at Reston Regional Library
    Learn about the symbolism of the hijab and why Muslim women wear it. Then try one on, try your hand at Arabic calligraphy and enjoy snacks. Presented in partnership with the Islamic Circle of North America. All ages.
  • PJ Library Book Buddies Storytime*
    Thursdays, monthly, 10:30 a.m. at Chantilly Regional Library
    All moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers and children who love books are invited for stories and fun that relate to Jewish culture traditions and holidays. Enjoy movement and crafts along with stories. Ages 2 1/2 - 5 years with caregiver. Siblings welcome.
  • PJ Library Book Buddies*
    Wednesdays, monthly, 10:30 a.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
    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 - 5 years with adult.

Person in red robe with hands in prayer

  • The World's Religions: Seven-Part Series
    Sundays, February 16-March 29, 2:30 p.m. at Centreville Regional Library
    Learn about the beliefs, values and practices of major world religions. Laura Shulman, Professor of Religion at Northern Virginia Community College, will present this seven-part series. Each session will include a lecture, Q&A and additional resources. Sessions: Judaism (1 of 7), Christianity (2 of 7), Islam (3 of 7), Hinduism (4 of 7), Buddhism (5 of 7), Sikhism (6 of 7) and Baha'i Faith (7 of 7). Adults and teens.

A World of Perspectives

  • Passport to Fun*
    Fridays, monthly, 4:30 p.m. at Chantilly Regional Library
    Travel the world exploring different languages and cultures through crafts and games with the Chantilly High School Language Honor Societies. For students in grades 1-6.
  • Meet Henry Brinton, Author of City of Peace
    Saturday, February 29, 2 p.m. at Oakton Library
    City of Peace
    is a gripping murder mystery about a Methodist minister who is forced to confront his own demons and help his followers overcome today’s prejudices that divide people of differing cultures and faiths. Adults.
  • Women in Jazz*
    Tuesday, March 3, 7 p.m. at Reston Regional Library
    Experience the history of women in jazz through lecture, trivia and live performance. Presented by master flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq. Adults.
  • Autodidactics Discussion Group: Collaborative Self-teaching on Diverse Topics
    Thursday, March 5, 1 p.m. at City of Fairfax Regional Library
    Join a group of curious learners in a wide-ranging discussion of themed topics. Quarterly themes are the chosen, with specific topics explored in depth each month in a friendly, collaborative learning group. March's discussion will focus on “family” and the meaning of family across cultures and time. Adults.
  • Meet Shabnam Curtis, Author of My Persian Paradox
    Tuesday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library
    Shabnam Curtis’s My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl opens in 1978 when the Iranian Revolution began and ends in 2004 when the author left Iran for America. It is the story of an ordinary Iranian girl who, like millions of other girls, was confused but tried to make sense of the oppression of the regime and the rigid structure of the male-dominant culture and still pursued the dream of freedom. Books available for sale and signing. Adults.

Book cover My Persian Paradox and photos of author Shabnam Curtis

World Map in Watercolor Read full article January 22, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Cultural_watercolour.jpg 1
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. Read more about this exciting new always-available eAudiobooks collection.

Visit 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

Image of bags and books
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
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