Community Dialogue Information & Statistics

Libraries are used more than ever in tight budget times. Popular resources at the library include:

  1. A wide selection of books to read or listen to at no cost to the borrower (who returns items on time)
  2. 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.
  3. PCs for customers to access email and other information.
  4. Job resources and online access to complete employment applications.
  5. An off-site business office.
  6. Free programs and activities for children and adults.
  7. Group English language conversation practice sessions led by volunteers.
  8. 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:

  1. Commuters who don't get home in time to get to the library before it closes.
  2. Meeting room groups that must meet earlier or arrange for after hours service at branches where it is available.
  3. Customers who use the library as a place to study in the evening.
  4. 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
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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.

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.

Some statistics:

Public use in Fiscal Year 2009

Other income in Fiscal Year 2009

The County budget presentation can be found here.