Sunday, April 10, 2016

Moira Callaghan's Statement to Board of Supervisors at Public Hearing on Budget

Madam Chairman, Board Supervisors:

I am a mother of three.  I am a teacher.  I am an avid user of the library. 
·         Libraries have the privilege of instilling a love of learning in all
·         Libraries help individuals and families save money

When my children were young we attended many library programs.  I take my children to the library every other week to check out books and other materials.  My children ask to go to the library.  

I also use the library for my job.  I use books from the library in my classroom.  I check out about 15-30 books every other week.

Fairfax County is growing and its library system should grow with its population.

·         Fairfax County has more than 3,300 home schooled children, which is more than any other district.  Home school teachers rely on the library.

·         In 2012 the head of the Fairfax County library system stated that the “future direction” of the library was to transition from “a print environment to a digital environment.”

·         Hundreds of thousands of books have been discarded.  It is my understanding libraries are still questionably discarding books.

·         Spending time reading a book with a child is incredibly special.  No matter if it is a child in my classroom who hands me a book and plops down in my lap or with my own child snuggled in bed.

·         Studies show that students retain less when reading from a screen.

·         A San Jose University study titled Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment, Changes in Reading Behavior over the Past Ten Years found that  nearly 90% percent of college students favor print media.

·         Research shows that Millenials are rejecting e-books. Independent bookstores are thriving and e-books sales are down. Even Amazon is opening bookstores. 

·         The North American president for Pearson, the largest publisher in the world and the dominant player in Fairfax County’s Public School’s educational materials, said the move to digital “doesn’t look like a revolution right now. It looks like an evolution, and it’s lumpy at best.”   

·         Investment in technology is expensive and quickly becomes outdated. 

·         Fairfax County spends the lowest per capita amount on its libraries of any jurisdiction in the Washington area.  Why is this?

Funding a library is an investment in a community.   

·         The other day, my children wanted to go to the library.  It was closed due to recently reduced hours.   Last week I purchased a book for my daughter because the library didn’t have enough copies.  

In closing I’d like to share the profound words of my daughter, age 14:
“Libraries are equalizers.”

Moira Callaghan
Reston, VA

Source: The Decade-long Detrioration of the Fairfax County Public Library System,
Reston Citizens Association, Reston 2020 Committee

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