Letter: Question To Ask About Library

Letter: Question To Ask About Library

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

In January, 2015 the Library Board of Trustees was given a document from the Department of Public Works that indicates Reston Regional Library will be rebuilt at its current location. At the September, 2014 Library Board meeting Library Director Sam Clay stated that a task force had been appointed to oversee planning of the new library, and he had been appointed to that task force. We would encourage Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to inform the community about the composition of the task force and to let us know how many Restonians are on it. Does the task force include any members of the Reston Friends of the Library or any retired librarians? Is our currently serving Hunter Mill Library Board member, or any retired Library Board members on this task force?

We would like to have information as to the size of the planned building. Will it be part of a mixed-use building? What other uses are expected? How many square feet will the library be? How many books will be shelved there? How many meeting rooms will be provided? What space will be allotted to the Friends of the Library for their book sales? Will there be space for a library store like those used by Montgomery County to sell donated and ex-library books? How many computers will be available? How large will the children's section be and how many volumes will it hold? How many dedicated parking spaces will be included in the plans? Will there be a temporary facility provided during construction?

What will be the projected cost of the new library? Will the $10M bond be enough to cover a new building? If not, are there plans to add more money to a bond referendum within the time frame necessary to use the $10M bond funds currently available?

Will the shelter be separate from the library with its own entrances? How many people will the shelter be built to accommodate? Will there be support services on site to provide assistance to the homeless population?

The 2013 Beta Plan included elimination of library Youth Services and a transition to digital-only libraries. In light of current research about the problems of children retaining information read from digital screens versus print books, will Reston Regional be built as a digital-only library with minimal use of print books? (Please see September 2013, Scientific American article, Why the Brain Prefers Paper).

Ebooks are not purchased by libraries. They are rented. In fact, they are not even books; they are rented pieces of software that expire after a prescribed number of checkouts. The cost-per-checkout (CPC) for ebooks is at least four to ten times the cost for print books. County Executive Ed Long just announced a large cut to the library in the FY2016 budget. Will the configuration of the new library reflect a continuing reliance on print materials since it is clear ebooks are beyond our budget?

Other jurisdictions allow public outreach when community libraries are renovated, redesigned and rebuilt. Will the Reston community be included in the decisions about the future of our library?

Kathy Kaplan

Fairfax Library Advocates