Community Dialogue Information & Statistics
Libraries are used more than ever in tight budget times. Popular resources at the library include:
- A wide selection of books to read or listen to at no cost to the borrower (who returns items on time)
- Access to wireless Internet for customers who bring their own laptop. Individuals with budget constraints have dropped home wireless service and access the Internet at the library instead.
- PCs for customers to access email and other information.
- Job resources and online access to complete employment applications.
- An off-site business office.
- Free programs and activities for children and adults.
- Group English language conversation practice sessions led by volunteers.
- Meetings of homeowners and other nonprofit groups.
Closing at 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and at 6 p.m. on Thursdays has impacted many customers including:
- Commuters who don't get home in time to get to the library before it closes.
- Meeting room groups that must meet earlier or arrange for after hours service at branches where it is available.
- Customers who use the library as a place to study in the evening.
- Students who need books and other resources for homework.
These are just a few examples of the impact of budget reductions. Speaking from your own experience is as persuasive as any of the ideas presented here.
Registration is required to attend the community dialogue meetings.
Thank you for your willingness to speak up for your library.
Budget FY 2011 – Fairfax County Government Community Dialogue Meetings
Library Talking Points
The library receives less than 1% of the county budget each fiscal year while Public Schools receive 54% of the budget. Public libraries support the education of ALL members in the community from preschoolers to seniors.
- The materials collection for elementary and secondary students is selected based on the Virginia SOLs.
- The public library is accessible to students during the week in the afternoon and evening and each weekend for study and research.
- Tutor.com Learning Suite® (formerly Live Homework Help) is available from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week. Tutors are available to communicate in either English or Spanish. Topics include homework help; standardized test preparation for SATs, GED, and citizenship; and resume writing to name a few. Funding is provided by the Library Foundation.
- The library's Ready-to-Read program provides outreach services through library staff and specially trained volunteers so children are ready for school at age five.
- Each year FCPL offers a Summer Reading Program to encourage children and young adults to continue reading while the public schools are closed. In 2008 over 60,000 students of all ages participated. This program is funded by the Library’s Friends Groups and the Library Foundation.
- FCPL’s Talking Book service provides audio books and playing equipment free of charge by mail. Individuals of all ages who are unable to read or use standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations are eligible for the program.
- The activities of the Fairfax County Public Library's Center for the Book include forming partnerships with private and public entities to advance books and reading through author and literary events, public and corporate workshops, expositions, discussion series, seminars, and other programs and events related to books and reading.
In Fiscal Year 2001, the library materials budget was approximately six million dollars with a per capita of $6.33 per county resident. In the current Fiscal Year the materials budget is approximately three million dollars with a per capita of $2.71 per county resident. Yet the number of card applications, items on loan, on-site and web site visits continues to rise every year.
The average cost of a book in a retail store or on Amazon.com is $15.00. Library patrons have access to 2.5 million print and media items, over 70 databases as well as ebooks, eaudio-books and evideos available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The library also provides an inter-library loan service that gives FCPL patrons access to books outside the metropolitan D.C. area. The average cost of this service to FCPL is $20.00. Because FCPL relies on state aid we cannot charge the patron a fee for this service. We can only charge libraries outside the Metro D.C. area that borrow materials from our collection.
In FY 2010 the library needed to institute fees in order to cover the cost of delivering books to each library five days a week. This expenditure is no longer covered by the County's Facility Management Office.
The library relies heavily on volunteer hours in order to meet the needs of the community and function at an adequate level. Currently it takes 3-5 business days to fill a hold request. That time would probably double without the help of our volunteers.
In August 2009 the national average unemployment rate was 9.7%. In July 2009 the unemployment rate in Fairfax County was 4.8%. Newspapers report the economy is beginning to stabilize but the unemployment rate will take more time to recover. Many employers have transitioned to online employment applications and unemployed people are often without the resources to purchase a computer for their home. Public libraries provide access for these people to computers and the Internet.
Public use in Fiscal Year 2009
- 489,658 registered customers.
- 6,123,486 visits to library branches.
- 13,931,027 items loaned.
- 4,206,393 visits to the library's Internet site.
- 114,990 people attended 4,742 programs.
- Volunteers donated over 142,855 hours
- Approximately 575 full time employees operating 24 branches that are open on average 60 hours a week.
Other income in Fiscal Year 2009
- $648,741 from Virginia state aid.
- $57,163 from the City of Fairfax library services contract.