On Sunday, Feb. 4, a large group of library supporters, Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) leadership, and Supervisor Walter L. Alcorn (Hunter Mill) gathered at the Reston Regional Library. The Friends of Reston Regional Library would present a contribution of $100,000 to the FCPL Board of Trustees.
Using their funds raised primarily through the sale of donated books — 40 tons to be exact — the "very generous" gift would be invested in FCPL’s children's and young adult collections. The funds would benefit cardholders throughout Fairfax County since Reston Library is a regional library.
The Director of the Fairfax County Public Library System Jessica Hudson, said that the Friends gave the county library system $200,000 almost two years ago to support the digital collection. The pandemic saw a spike in library usage, and the relatively flat county material budget was insufficient to meet the demand.
“This time, we came forward, and we said we really, really need dollars for the children’s book collection,” Hudson said. She said that if one browses through the children's material collection, they will see those items are “thumbed to death."
“We don’t even look at getting rid of them until they are just falling apart at the seams,” said Hudson.“We are incredibly thankful,” she said, referring to the gift.
Library Board Trustee Parker Brugge (Hunter Mill District) said that he has seen the incredible amount of work the book sales take, as has Trustee Sujatha Hampton (Dranesville District), who was in the audience. Brugge told how the Board of Trustees had developed a new committee this past year, the FAN committee [Friends and Advocates Network]. It brings together advocates and Friends of Libraries to educate the Board of Supervisors on the needs of the library. Through FAN and the committee’s work, the library secured a one-time budget increase of $300,000 for the collection in FY2024.
Brugge observed, "This supervisor doesn't need education," referring to Alcorn, who championed the budget hike. Brugge emphasized that by the end of February, Fairfax County would begin its budget cycle. “We’re going to be reaching out to all of you so that you can help us advocate on behalf of the library to increase the budget and make sure the library gets the funds it needs,” Brugge said.
Alcorn said he knew that the Reston Library was a regional library and not a community library. “But this is truly a cornerstone of the community,” he said.
Wanting to provide an update on the new library, Alcorn said that although the county's present library facility has served the community and its members well for many decades, the new Reston Regional Library is moving forward.
Alcorn said the new library will be where the temporary modular Reston fire station stood up to two years ago. The location is at 1840 Cameron Glen Drive, in Reston, about a block from the North County Government Center. Demolishing any structures would not be necessary because the location is already cleared. As for the current library, the facility would kept open during the construction of the new building.
Alcorn said that this year is seeing the development of the plans and the design, and there must be a rezoning procedure for the library. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure that the information is shared with the community as quickly as possible … so we don't have any more delays, as it is time to move on to get ourselves a new Reston Regional Library,” Alcorn said.
According to its website, the Friends of Reston Regional Library is an all-volunteer, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is “driven by an active team of volunteers who support literacy in the library and our community through blood, sweat, and book sales.”