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Friends of Library Get the Word Out

The Friends of Burke Centre Library hosted a Sunday site-warming on Freds Oak Road.

With more than a month remaining until voters approve the county bond referendum that will determine whether it will actually exist, the Burke Centre Library is already well-loved.

Members of the Friends of Burke Centre Library group conducted a "site-warming" ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 26, at the proposed location of the new library, on Freds Oak Road.

Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock); Sam Clay, director of the Fairfax County Public Libraries; deputy director Jane Goodwin; School Board member Cathy Belter (Braddock), and Bobbi Longworth and Mike Lewis of the Fairfax County Public Library Foundation were also on hand to show their support.

Bulova, who was instrumental in securing the land on which the library would be built, said the Friends group is taking the right approach.

"The folks in Burke are so excited about this library, and they've been involved from the very, very beginning," said Bulova. "People really feel ownership of the library, and I think you could say they're chomping at the bit to begin construction."

FORMED IN the summer of 2002, the Friends group now has 30 members. Its primary goal has been to raise money for the library, and according to Pat Riedinger, president of the Friends of Burke Centre Library, the group has raised close to $5,000 to date, more than half from three book sales. The latest sale, which took place at the Burke Fall Festival, earned $1,300 for the library.

"We’re taking every opportunity to call ourselves to people’s attention in the community," said Riedinger. "We have the property, and we’re trying to make sure people in the community are kept aware. We want this library to be a top priority."

In addition to fund-raising, Friends members have been out promoting the Nov. 2 bond referendum, which would provide funding to construct the library. According to Judy Anderson of Manassas, who chairs the Bond Referendum c

Committee for the Friends, spreading the word is the group's top priority right now.

"We have a pretty boring and repetitious message, but it's the one that needs saying at the moment. There is no library without the passage of the bond referendum," said Anderson. "We're definitely advocating for the bond referendum. We're not neutral."

According to Anderson, the Friends of Burke Library made a donation on Sunday to the Fairfax County Public Library Foundation of $1,500 toward expenses incurred in promoting the bond referendum.

The Friends group has ordered buttons, T-shirts and fliers encouraging Fairfax County voters to vote in favor of the bond referendum on Nov. 2.

"The county can’t do the promoting, but that’s one thing the Friends group can do," said Riedinger. "Right now, that’s our main priority."

Should the bond referendum pass and construction designs become finalized, Riedinger said her group would remain involved in making suggestions regarding the purchase of items for the library's collection. That money, however, would come out of the Fairfax County budget.