UPDATE 5/23: New hours will begin July 5, not July 1.
This July marks the 75th anniversary of the Arlington Public Library, created by residents like you who believed in the value of a strong library system for all the County. It is both a fitting reminder of this proud legacy and of the importance of citizen advocacy that in the FY2012 Budget, the County Board has acted to restore some Library hours, and supplemented the all-important materials budget.
The increase to the materials budget means we can purchase more books, DVDs, magazines and eBooks to meet user demand.
The three hours restored to each branch (except Plaza*) during the Monday-Friday workweek will allow us to bring back some badly needed programs for young children and address the oft-stated need for more evening hours. That’s especially good news for working parents and teens with homework. In addition, Sunday hours at Columbia Pike and Shirlington will be extended to match those of Central Library.
Effective this July 1, the start of Fiscal Year 2012, our new schedule of operations will be:
- Wednesday Mornings – Columbia Pike Branch Library, Shirlington Branch Library and Westover Branch Library will open at 10 a.m. (rather than the current 1 p.m.) and remain open until 9 p.m.
- Thursday Evenings – Aurora Hills Branch Library, Cherrydale Branch Library and Glencarlyn Branch Library will remain open until 9 p.m. (rather than the current 6 p.m.). The addition of three hours at these three locations means that every branch in the system except Plaza will be open late three evenings per workweek.
- Sunday Evenings – In addition, the Columbia Pike Branch Library and Shirlington Branch Library will remain open until 9 p.m. (rather than the current 5 p.m.).
- *Plaza Branch Library and Central Library will continue to operate on their current schedules.
Later this year, the staff and I will host a series of “check-ins” in each branch community to hear from residents about their thoughts on library hours, collections needs, etc. This in-person feedback will inform our recommendations for next year’s budget and help us make modifications if appropriate. Please watch the Library website, Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of these sessions – we always appreciate and value the feedback we receive from the community and look forward to engaging both library users and non-users alike.
The past two budget seasons have been difficult ones for the County and for the Department of Libraries in particular. We are grateful for the support the residents of Arlington have given us by tirelessly attending work sessions and writing both the County Board and the County Manager to express how important a strong library system is to Arlington’s quality of life. Your messages have been heard and we look forward to seeing you and serving you more in the coming months.
Today, April 23, has been declared “National Adopt A Library Day” because libraries “are an essential part of the communities and the national system of education in the United States.”
May the celebrations never end!
It's great that the county board has recognized the desire within the community to RESTORE LOST HOURS, as in "restore some hours of operation". But the branch libraries weren't open Thursday evenings, and Columbia Pike and Shirlington weren't open Sunday evenings before the budget cuts. I believe what was felt most severely is the loss of the weekday where the branches were closed the entire day. I hope you will reconsider and add the hours there rather than expanding the evenings, and support the county board's vision. Thanks for all that you do!
I am thrilled that some library hours will be restored. However, I am disappointed that Westover will continue to be closed during the entire day on Thursday. I appreciate the logistical difference between extending hours on a day when the library is already open and opening on an additional day, but the extension does not compensate for the loss of an entire day. I hope you will reconsider and restore some hours on Thursdays.
So we’re NOT going to restore midweek [school night] days to branches, in spite of obvious need by disadvantaged students both during school, for assignments, and during school breaks, for a safe place to spend the day. Also the community as a whole, including the elderly and those without cars or bus-fare. But we ARE going to increase Sunday hours past 5 pm, at the branches with big parking lots, even though Alexandria, Falls Church., Fairfax and DC don’t have Sunday hours after 5 pm, and this will draw in even more their residents [the ones who were deterred by the limited parking at Central] to use our resources on those boring Sunday nights, including borrowing materials that we already don’t have enough of. Brilliant! By the way, this unintelligent use of County taxpayers’ money was not in the proposed 2012 budget, or recommendations from FAAC or the Arlington County Civic Federation, or the public portion of the library budget work session in March. So much for open government.
Great news! One question, though-"The increase to the materials budget means we can purchase more books, DVDs, magazines and eBooks to meet user demand."Any chance music CDs will make a comeback in FY12? The materials suggestion page (http://library.arlingtonva.us/Departments/Libraries/materialmgmt/LibrariesMaterialmgmtPatronform.asp) notes that music CD purchase has been suspended due to budget cuts. I've found some true musical gems in your collection – please consider restoring these purchases, too!
I really miss the 9 am Saturday opening at Central, too. Maybe that can be restored someday.
This is an amended form of my earlier submitted comment:So we’re NOT going to restore midweek [school night] days to branches, in spite of obvious need by disadvantaged students both during school, for assignments, and during school breaks, for a safe place to spend the day. Also the community as a whole, including the elderly and those without cars or bus-fare. But we ARE going to increase Sunday hours past 5 pm, at the branches with big parking lots, even though Alexandria, Falls Church., Fairfax and DC don’t have Sunday hours after 5 pm, and this will draw in even more of their residents [the ones who were deterred by the limited parking at Central] to use our resources on those boring Sunday nights, including borrowing materials that we already don’t have enough of. By the way, this use of County taxpayers’ money was not in the proposed 2012 budget, or recommendations from FAAC or the Arlington County Civic Federation, or the public portion of the library budget work session in March.
Diane Kresh, Director says
Hello Shelley,On April 14, the County Board directed the County Manager to make a series of adjustments to the proposed FY 2012 budget. Those adjustments specifically included extended Sunday hours at Columbia Pike and Shirlington, plus three additional hours per week at each branch except Plaza. Central received no restored hours for FY 2012. The adjustments were approved by the Board as part of the final FY 2012 budget on April 16. As I said in my blog post:"Later this year, the staff and I will host a series of "check-ins" in each branch community to hear from residents about their thoughts on library hours, collections needs, etc. This in-person feedback will inform our recommendations for next year's budget and help us make modifications if appropriate. Please watch the Library website, Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of these sessions – we always appreciate and value the feedback we receive from the community and look forward to engaging both library users and non-users alike." Thanks.
Yes, the board approved the budget adjustments. Yet from the April 5 worksession document dated April 7, the board members appear to ask for options for restoring Library materials and hours. Might there have been some confusion, since the scenarios presented in response include additional hours, not restorations as presented in your FY09 comparison table? The county board website doesn't list an April 14 worksession, so any clarification would be appreciated on those discussions.
Diane Kresh, Director says
Thank you all who have posted comments and suggestions.For background, this release explains the Board's actions of April 14:http://news.arlingtonva.us/pr/ava/arlington-county-board-no-tax-201509.aspx?ncid=31099Links to documents and video from the entire County budget process can be found here:http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/ManagementAndFinance/budget/page78609.aspx
I applaud the addition of three hours of library service to my branch library's Thursday evenings. For many working people, evenings are the only times during the week that we can enjoy the library. Gaining Thursday evenings will enable us to check out materials just before the weekend. I'm also glad to see the restoration of funds for materials and for some of the children's programs. I hope our branch library can eventually regain its Tuesdays–including Tuesday evenings–and that the children's librarian and other children's programs we lost in 2009 can be restored.
Thank you for your response Ms. Kresh,I had not meant to imply that the Library made these changes without authorization from the Board. April 14 is still past the time of public input and the action taken does not reflect the recommendations of record until that time.
The Librarians says
To Anonymous on April 24, 2011 11:50 AM, in regards to music CDs:The specifics of the materials budget won't be worked out until the end of May, so stay tuned for more info on your question. In the meantime, we appreciate knowing what you are interested in – thanks for letting us know!
Hooray! Thank you for adding more e-books. I am really enjoying reading books on my nook. I have a disability and had to give up reading print books, because it was too much of a struggle. However, now I can lie on one side, and adjust the font size, I am back to reading voraciously! Thank you Arlington Public Library; by having a large selection of e-books available you are giving me a huge part of my life back.
Rebecca Krafft says
To help augment the materials budget, could the Library publish a wishlist of acquisitions and allow users to commit to donate items on the list? Especially in the case of DVDs, once I've seen it, I rarely return to it. I would be delighted to share such things (permanently).
I am glad to hear that hours and materials budget for FY2012 has increased. I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved. I love the Arlington Library. The hours of Central Library (which I use the most) are pretty good (open 7 days a week, including being open until 9 pm on 5 days a week). It would be good if Columbia Pike and Shirlington would again be open 7 days a week too, and if Aurora Hills, Cherrydale, Glencarlyn and Westover would again be open Monday-Saturday. Thanks.
I am thrilled with everything that the library is doing and proposes. I love the user name /pin combo that allows me to check out materials without having to swipe a card. I am mostly pleased with the lists features (only wish one could create a list of books that aren't yet on order to replace handwritten versions I keep). And, as an owner of a Kindle, I am pleased that in the fall Kindle will be able to handle the e-book format used by the library, which likely will add to the number of ebook users.I am pleased with you can restore hours and will take whatever and whenever you can provide.Thanks for all you do.Dixie
Couldn't agree more about CD's it seems odd that that was one that just flat deleted from the budget while just about all the DVD's that you would ever hope to find are continuing to be purchased.
The Librarians says
In response to Anonymous on April 24 and Anonymous on April 28, regarding CDs in the Library's collection: We don't yet know if we will be adding to the classical music and children's CD collection next year – that decision is dependent on our complete review of the now augmented collections budget. A point to be aware of, however, is that our tracking of the music industry demonstrates that the lifespan of Compact Discs is waning; the trend toward digital downloads instead of physical CDs is happening across the nation. This is reflected both by the industry and in reduced use of / changes to CD collections in public libraries. Here in Arlington, a growing percentage of our population is directly downloading their music, and APL now offers streaming music to help satisfy this increasing interest. Unfortunately, the marketplace does not yet offer a model that allows us to build a comprehensive downloadable music collection, and much of the reason is the continuing struggle over digital rights management. The same is true of DVDs – while they continue to be a vibrant medium in the marketplace, the transition to digital access for video is coming soon, and will pose the same challenges for libraries.In this constantly evolving landscape, we will continue to balance our media collections to meet the varying needs of our wide range of user interests. Your thoughts and comments in this area are both helpful and appreciated.
The Librarians says
Dixie, your kind words and support made our day – thank you so much.
I totally understand where the library is coming from on this, but would be grateful if more CD's were added to the collection. Thanks!!
Clearly there has been a trend toward digital downloads instead of physical CD's. One thing that worries me is that a similar trend is beginning to happen with books and ebooks. Does the library anticipate reducing book purchases if ebooks end up with a majority of sales in the future?
I was glad to see mentioned the restoration of the badly needed programs for young children. Does this mean that all of the branches will be regaining in FY2012 the popular children's programs they lost in FY2010?
The Librarians says
In reply to Anonymous on May 3, in regards to the future purchase of books vs. eBooks,To misquote Mark Twain, "Rumors of the printed book's death have been greatly exaggerated." In the same way that radio survived the advent of TV, and paper has flourished in what was once predicted to be the "paperless" digital society, print books remain a vital part of the Library's collection. So as book formats continue to change, our collection will – of course – continue to evolve and change as well. But knowing exactly what those changes will look like (without a crystal ball) is impossible.
The Librarians says
In reply to Rebecca Krafft from April 26, in regards to donating used items directly to the Library's collection:Sorry to take so long to get back to you…The short answer:We would be very happy to receive your used items – thanks for thinking of us! You can drop them off for the Friends of the Library.The long answer:Unfortunately, since Library materials are generally purchased in multiples and then fully pre-processed (boxed, labeled, and cataloged) by our vendors, it is generally not cost-effective for us to repackage, process and catalog single copies of titles.However, donations made to the Friends of the Library are reviewed by Library staff, who search for additional / replacement copies of high-demand titles that are already in our collection. These are very easy to add, and last year we added more than 3,000 items this way.And of course the many, many donations that are not added to the Library collection are sold in the Friends of the Library Book Sale. And proceeds from the Books Sales return straight to the Library, and help us to purchase new materials and support Library programs.So either way, donating to the Library – by way of the Friends – is a very good thing.