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Votes

Saving Public Libraries

To the Editor:

A significant number of planners expect the nation to be illiterate by 2050, so books will not be needed. Instead of planning for my grandchildren’s needs today, the county has decided to prepare for their grandchildren’s needs in an imaginary future where people no longer read, where electronic devices enable them to communicate without written language, where books no longer exist. (From a study on architect Grimm & Parker’s website.)

Changes being currently considered to the Reston Regional Library will eliminate the children’s desk and all Youth Services. All children’s librarians will be eliminated. Information librarians will be eliminated. Professional degrees for librarians will no longer be required even for the position of library director. Staff will be cut by a third, from 20.5 to 13.5.

Because of the community uproar over book dumping by FCPL, citizens and taxpayers have been given a little time for public input to consider the proposed changes (the Beta Plan). Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will host a public meeting Oct. 30 at the Hunters Woods Elementary School at 2401 Colts Neck Road, Reston, at 7 p.m.

If library services are something you value, you need to attend this meeting and let your opinions be known. Do you want your library replaced with a community center with only eBooks? The 2012 Library Strategic Plan passed by the Board of Supervisors last fall mandates a transition from print books to eBooks, even though most books are not available in digital editions. And, for libraries, the cost of digital books is more than 10 times the cost of print books. Only two publishers sell eBooks to libraries. They are not purchased, they are leased. After the eBook is borrowed 25 times, the lease expires. The library has to decide whether to re-purchase another lease. A hardcover print book that costs $10 can last through 50 borrowings before it has to be replaced because of wear.

If you think Fairfax County should continue to have libraries as we have known them, please attend one of the outreach meetings. They are listed on the Fairfax County Library under Resource Highlights (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/).

Kathy Kaplan

Reston