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Fairfax library petition alerts public to cuts

The Friends of Fairfax County Public Library, a nonprofit group largely made up of county library volunteers, has created an online petition to raise awareness about possible deep cuts to the library system's budget next year.

In November, the library announced it would likely lay off 107 full- and part-time employees to help close a $4 million budget gap. Library hours would also be scaled back on Fridays under the proposal prepared by county staffers.

System employees have argued that in the economic downturn, libraries have become a haven for the homeless and jobless and that county officials, in their attempts to avoid closing branches for one day during the week or shuttering entire facilities, have sought deep personnel cuts instead.

However, county officials say closing entire branches would leave some communities at a disadvantage and force staffers to work on weekends and late into the evenings.

As of Friday afternoon, the online petition had about 125 signatures. The goal is 50,000, according to the Web site.

Read on for the text from the petition:

Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) receives 0.09% of the county budget each fiscal year. Out of approximately one million county residents 50% own a library card. In FY 2010 FCPL's budget was cut by 18%. The result? A reduction in the hours of operation, elimination of over 300 part time employees, and a collection with a per capita of $2.71, the lowest in ten years. The County Executive has asked the Library Agency to prepare a 15% Budget Reduction Proposal for FY 2011. A 15% budget reduction will result in an additional 11% reduction in the hours of operation, reduced service on weekends and the elimination of 107 employees. Show your support for public libraries by signing this petition and send a message to your District County Supervisor.

By Anne Bartlett  |  December 11, 2009; 4:59 PM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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The Friends of Fairfax County Public Library have few, if any, members who are county library employees. Many are volunteers who work regular schedules alongside county staff which may be the source for this misapprehension.

Posted by: dnewhall | December 11, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Photography As a Career? How does one go from a hobby photographer to taking photos as a career check out
they have a online program with financial aid and scholarships! If you like photography then you much check it.

Posted by: wayneclouties12 | December 12, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Staffers already work weekends and evenings! What really is happening is that, with 15 percent budget cuts two years in a row, the library has less money, therefore less staff, which means less customer service, fewer books, DVDs, databases, books on CD and programs, and soon no more reference service by email, text and instant messaging. Soon the library plans to close the reference desks and not answer the phones on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The whole story is a lot bigger and bader that what is being told.

Posted by: postread1 | December 14, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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