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Fairfax County Libraries Prepared for Cuts if Necessary

A $374,000 reduction could make some titles less available at local branches, including Tysons-Pimmit.

Fairfax County Public Libraries are ready to reduce some book availability at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, along with other branches, if cuts in the county's proposed FY 2014 budget are approved in April, officials say.

In his advertised $7 billion budget package presented to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, County Executive Ed Long proposed removing $374,000 from the library’s collections budget, which it uses to buy books and stock the shelves.

“We are aware of the advertised budget that the county exec put out and we have thought about how we would implement the reductions to the collections budget that he stated,” said Mary Mulrenan, the public library marketing director, adding nothing is final, but "if it went through as is we are prepared to make the changes necessary.”

This is not the first year that libraries have seen cuts in the budget, Mulrenan said.

“Unfortunately, our collections department has become experienced at trying to figure out how to reduce the collections budget and still get people as much as they want,” she said.

Tysons-Pimmit is one of 23 branches across the county. 

Residents can still expect to find the popular titles and bestsellers at their local libraries but they might have to wait longer to get them.

“The most popular books, the bestsellers, we’re going to buy,” Mulrenan said. “We just might not be able to buy as many copies as we’d like to.”

Collections staff would also prioritize books that students need for school, including reading lists and homework.

“We’re always going to buy the books that are necessary to meet those functions,” she said. “Everything else, then, we’re going to have to balance.”

But specialty titles – books on cooking, travel and decorating, for instance – might not be as available.

“Some of those books can be expensive, so those might be the kinds of titles we might not have as many of,” she said.

Have something to say about the proposed budget cuts? Speak out in the comments, or our local voices section.

Navid Roshan March 01, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Instead of cutting, why doesnt the county consider some innovative revenue sources. Do you know how many language teachers, test prep tutors, small businesses that rely on paid event meetings, etc. would like a place to rent space? Most conference spaces cost thousands if not tens of thousands to rent out. Just getting a couple of conferences at Pimmitts many spaces each week could keep the entire library in the black. Use your assets Fairfax PS do the same thing with schools for yoga teachers, personal trainers on the weekends when the schools are empty.
Annandalean March 01, 2013 at 11:16 AM
So far, that hasn't worked. Three years ago, FCPL raised fines and added fees for card number look-up and for guest passes to use the public computers. They didn't do much. Charging for rooms has been proposed many times and each time, it's been decided that people would just not use the rooms. The library makes use of over 150,000 volunteer hours (that would be at least half a million dollars in pay), book donations, and money raised by the Friends of the Library groups to help pay for itself. That's using assets.
Navid Roshan March 01, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Who decided people wouldnt use the rooms. I have a small business idea, I would love to have information sessions about it, but hosting costs are outrageous at hotels etc. The point is to be price effective to give an option to small business. Dont try to charge 1k for the room, try to find the small business who can pay $100 per hour instead. Thinking about doing it and then not, isnt the same as actually doing it and it not working. I dont disagree that volunteer hours and charity help, but if they are going to be losing 600k in funding this year, they should probably find a way to close that gap. Filling out 2 hours per week at $100, for 30 library over the course of a year comes out to 300k. Why limit the opportunity?
Navid Roshan March 01, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Even if only 1 person does 1 hour for the whole year, its $100 that otherwise wouldn't have been created, and it literally costs nothing and does not reduce service at the library in any way. $100 for the library could help buy a few new books, or perhaps expand the online kindle library, etc. If there is no risk of losing money, then why not try it at least instead of complaining that there isn't enough money available. Small businesses need things like this anyway. Id be the first person to sign up if they enacted it this week, theres $100 you can have from me Fairfax if you allow something like this.

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