Summary of the September 10th Friends Forum

The Fairfax Library Friends met at Kings Park library to discuss the most recent agenda of issues the library system will face. The library foundation considers the Friends groups to be of paramount importance in tackling these issues.

First, Sam Clay discussed the “Four Cs: Cash, Catastrophes, Capital, and Conversations”.

Cash: It is no secret that money is tight. The foundation was asked to submit a budget projecting cuts of 1%, 3%, and 5%. A 1% cut represents approximately $275,000 — roughly the cost of being open later hours one or two days per week. Anything larger than that may start to affect human capital. Several variables have yet to play out, among them: county investments, salaries, school transfers, and so on. We must accept the fact that the current environment IS the “new normal”.

Catastrophes: Fairfax County in general was extremely fortunate with regard to the earthquakes and storms. Damage could have been much worse, and much more costly. That statement is not intended to dismiss any suffering that took place, merely to point out that those disasters could have eaten up considerably more resources than they did.

Capital: It is a good sign that capital investment is still taking place. Buildings are being renovated and opening, and architectural plans exist for expansion and/or re-location of four libraries (Pohick, Reston, JM, and Tysons-Pimmit).

Conversations: Sam and his staff have held several conversations directly with library patrons. they went extremely well and covered issues from digital content, and applications, to hours.

One take-away from these conversations is the fact that many Friends groups are donating money with specific earmarks.

Susan Harman, executive director for the foundation discussed additional board issues. She specifically asked the attendees whether they have any community or civic groups that would want to invite the Foundation to attend. She also mentioned the $219,000 in scholarships given out by the foundation.

The Library Jubilee will be on Saturday October 15th at Thomas Jefferson, 4pm-7pm. Tickets are still available. Click here for more information.

Pamela Chin gave an update on her efforts to get blue bins removed from the county. It is going extremely well. For those who would like to read more about this ongoing initiative, please visit

The book sale donation posters have been given out to branch managers, and we can choose where we would like to display it in our library.

A transitional committee has been elected to take over the job of hosting friends forum meetings. I am a part of this committee and would like to bid that we host one of the next meetings. I would like to discuss this at the next meeting.

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