Your Fairfax County Public Library System isn’t just about books these days – although it did distribute close to 11 million this year, including eBooks and eAudiobooks according to FCPL’s fiscal year 2019 annual report. More than 4.5 million customers visited the library to take advantage of its wide variety of services and events during fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019).
Here are five things to know from the Library’s annual report:
1. Center for Technology Access
From technology tutoring to 3D printing, library card holders have access to online and in-person learning opportunities. Library staff, along with national and local partners, work to bridge digital literacy gaps ensuring residents have access to evolving technologies that dominate our home, school and work lives. Highlights from fiscal year 2019 (FY19) included a Grow with Google event aimed at creating economic opportunities through improving digital skills and the launch of FCPL’s 3D printing service for the public, now available at six branches.
2. “Third Place” for You
The library is an ideal social space between home — the “first place” — and work — the “second place.” It offers a comfortable setting to hold meetings, attend programs, read, study or just hang out. Last fiscal year 4,576,496 people visited the library, 273,728 attended programs, 2,600,208 accessed library Wi-Fi, and groups from chess clubs, Toastmasters, HOAs and many more used meeting rooms.
3. Widespread Access to Books
In FY 2019 the library distributed 32,881 picture books during storytimes at Head Start classrooms, childcare centers and preschools to help families begin building home libraries. Library staff worked with other county agencies to provide books for little libraries at the Adult Detention Center and book exchanges at community centers. In addition to deposit site collection points maintained throughout the county, the library’s free online materials such as eBooks and audiobooks and its talking books program ensure that people with barriers to library access — disability, mobility or other — can read and enjoy the same resources as everyone else.
4. Opportunities for Civic Engagement
Bringing the community together to enjoy music, author presentations or learning opportunities is a specialty of library staff. In FY 2019 the award-winning program “Hot Topics: News, Blues and How to Defuse” was presented at multiple locations. Librarians and staff from the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution taught media literacy and conversation skills. Other engagement examples included foreign policy roundtables, book discussion groups, a trade school career fair and cross-cultural programming such as “Meet Your Muslim Neighbor.”
5. $6.51 in Value for Every Tax Dollar Invested
This number, calculated with figures provided by the American Library Association, can be explored in the library’s Return on Investment Report. At the library, a little funding goes a long way — 651% longer, to be exact — making it one smart investment in the county’s resources and community.