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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Meeting Summary, December 13, 2014, Fairfax Library Advocates
Fairfax Library Advocates held their second formal meeting last Saturday at the
Reston Regional Library. Around twenty individuals from all over the
county participated, bringing with them their perspectives from the
library staff, employee organizations and service on various Friends of Library
developments include a meeting between members of the Advocates and Library
Director Sam Clay and his deputies and the initial set of meetings with elected
and appointed officials. During the meeting with Director Clay, the
Advocates stressed their desire to work collaboratively on areas where we can
agree, but noted there were other areas where we had significant
differences. Specially, the Advocates object to the continuing destruction
of books and materials through the process of culling books not checked out for
two years, a time period not used by any other known library system. The Director
stated he had implemented the two year culling program and he felt this was
needed to "weed" the collection. The Advocates challenged this,
stating that many of the destroyed books were of great value and were often
used in the libraries without being checked out. Specially, many art,
history, religion, architecture, poetry, etc., books were being lost.
Further, the increasing number of vacancies among Library staff is causing a
deterioration of service and great hardship on the remaining librarians who
must work long hours of overtime to keep the system running. On
staffing, one of the deputies stated that no qualified candidates were applying
for the jobs. The Advocates strenuously refuted this, noting there were
numerous examples of hiring qualified candidates and a long line of potential
applicants were available if they looked for them.
meetings with elected officials included visits with State Senators Chap
Petersen and David Marsden and State Delegate Marcus Simon. All the
officials reaffirmed their commitment to strong local libraries and offered
Advocates expressed appreciation for the Fairfax County Federation of
Citizens Associations' motion to urge our officials to endorse the proposals
for the State of Virginia to declare libraries "Essential Services"
and to lift the cap on resource allocation for State funds for
libraries (at present Fairfax only receives support based on a population
of 600,000 rather than the actual population of 1.1 million).
Advocates discussed the misinformation recently disseminated to the effect that
the Federation had asked for an audit of the Friends expenditures and
income. This is not the case. The Federation had instead asked for
an audit of the "Gift Fund" that the Library Administration
runs. This is money received from daily sales by the various Friends and
amounts to perhaps $100,000 a year. This fund has never been
Advocates were encouraged to make available new information and analysis
available on the Advocates website so the public would know which programs and
library services are supported by Friends of the Library groups. FfxLibraryAdvocates.blogspot.com
must be paid to two upcoming initiatives - one on a system wide review of
library use and desired services and the second on establishing the criteria
for the search for a new director.
County Administration's proposed budget for next year is expected to be
released on February 17th. It will then go to the Board of
Supervisors. This underscores the need to reach out to and inform the
Supervisors about the current state of the library. The
Advocates are expected to seek the formal opinions of various elected
officials prior to the County and Statewide elections in 2015.
next meeting of the Advocates will be in approximately two months.