Monday, February 9, 2015

RCA Board of Directors seeks additional resources for Fairfax County Public Library

In the matter of
Resources for the Fairfax County Public Library
Reston Citizens Association 
February 9, 2015

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) is a public institution that is vital to the high quality of life of the residents of the County and especially important to less fortunate individuals and families who rely on its resources for helping children learn, job hunting, and starting and managing small businesses. 

      WHEREAS Reston is a planned community whose vision is to provide a high quality of life for people of all incomes, ages, races and ethnicities;
      WHEREAS the Reston Regional Library, in partial fulfillment of that Reston vision, is among the County’s busiest in serving a wide variety of people;
      WHEREAS the Reston Regional Library, like the other 22 FCPL branches in the County, has suffered significant, continuous cuts in its budget, staff, and collection over the last decade;
      WHEREAS FCPL as a whole has experienced a 22% decline in its operating (General Fund) expenditures —while the county-wide budget has increased 15% in the same timeframe;
      WHEREAS FCPL as a whole has experienced a 14% decline in full time positions over the same timeframe - while county-wide full time positions have increased by three percent since FY2007;
      WHEREAS FCPL has reduced its collection inventory by 16% in the decade between, including a 12% reduction in children’s books;
      WHEREAS FCPL has reduced the number of library children’s programs;
      WHEREAS FCPL’s policy of considering the discard of library materials after only two years of being unused is exceptionally short by public library norms and has contributed substantially to the decline in the FCPL materials inventory;
      WHEREAS FCPL does not include in-house use of library materials prior to creating the "dead" list,
      WHEREAS the impact of all these reductions in budget, staffing, and materials collection has caused a decrease in the quality of the FCPL system and by extension a decrease in the quality of life for Reston Life;
      WHEREAS this has been exhibited by the American Library Association’s Public Library Division which ranks FCPL in the bottom third of Metropolitan Washington public library systems (14th of 19 public library systems);

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the RCA Board of Directors calls upon:
      The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (FCBOS) to index the FCPL budget for FY2016 and all following FY to other comparable libraries in the Washington DC Metro area;
      The FCBOS to fill the vacant full-time positions and ensure that FCPL library staffing levels are indexed to regional norms;
      The FCBOS to increase the number of full-time positions—and fill them—at least at the rate of growth of the County’s population over the next decade;
      The FCBOS to direct the FCPL to replace any discarded materials at least one-for-one plus increasing holdings at the percentage change in the county’s population year-to-year;
      The FCBOS to direct the FCPL to include in-house use of library materials such that those books are not included on the initial "dead" list to be discarded.
      The FCBOS to direct the FCPL to change its “unused” material discard policy to national and regional norms;
      Fairfax County citizens and homeowners associations to adopt similar resolutions to encourage the FCBOS to treat the libraries as essential to the quality of life for Fairfax County citizens.

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