Dear Chairman Bulova:
Perhaps I am mistaken, but your recent article ("Library Reorganization Deserves More Work," The Connection, Nov. 13-19, 2013) sounds to me like a repudiation of the hard-fought community efforts over the last several months to maintain strong library services. It also appears to be a pre-emptive strike against the Library Board of Trustees presentation to be made on Nov. 19.
I understand that these are hard times financially, but I also understand that in hard times people need their public libraries to resolve personal and financial issues by researching jobs, careers, education, with the help of experienced librarians in a non-intimidating, friendly, neighborhood environment. Therefore I do not think this is the time to take the Fairfax County Public Library down the road to destruction by continuing to refuse to provide it with the funds it needs to be of service to the community.
In your article, you mention other library systems have successfully saved money in hard times by reducing hours, cutting services, or even closing library branches. These approaches by other library systems have one thing in common: they are all temporary cutbacks which can be re-adjusted slowly over time as the financial situation gets better.
The Beta Plan however will effectively destroy the library by reducing to a point of no return the quantity and quality of staff and services the library is able to provide. The Beta Plan is not a temporary plan. The changes are designed to be permanent (re-designation and reclassification of personnel is not to be undertaken lightly; nor is a one-size fits all library system where branches no longer serve the needs of their individual communities.) There will be no easy, gradual return to the level of quality and service at FCPL that we all know today, let alone to bring FCPL to the level it was at before the series of extensive budget cuts the Library has been taking over the last five or six years. The Beta Plan will be a mortal wound to the Fairfax County Library system and the Fairfax County citizens who need and deserve the best library they can get. It will take a lot more money to bring FCPL back from the Beta Plan.
I certainly hope that your Nov. 13 comments in The Connection do not reflect a closed mind and an intent to go forward with the Beta Plan no matter what the citizens of Fairfax County want and need, and no matter what the Library Board of Trustees present to you on Nov. 19. I hope that your charge to the Library Board to find out what the public wants was not an exercise in futility and that you will listen with an open mind and do the right thing.
Mary Alice Giarda