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The first signs of Fairfax's budget woes

One common refrain during budget season: County officials and residents say that cuts to local agencies and programs rarely are seen or felt. It's unusual than a locality or a public agency broadcasts losing staffers or consolidating services to save money; many cuts take place behind the scenes.

librarybudgetcut3.jpgBut in a possible sign of things to come, patrons, employees and volunteers of Fairfax County's library system already are starting to feel the pinch of a second straight year of drastic cuts, which could amount of an 18 percent cut in the department's annual funding for 2011 (on top of a 15 percent cut this year).

Virginia Politics has learned that the county has begun posting signs in library branches to indicate when reference materials, including magazine and newspaper subscriptions, have been discontinued because of budget cuts.

So far, Fairfax County Public Library has ended their "Ask a Librarian" program and has told staffers to expect 107 full- and part-time employees to be laid off to close a $4 million budget gap.

librarybudgetcut1.jpgThe Fairfax library system, the largest in the Washington area, has more than 500 employees. In response to fiscal 2010 budget cuts, library officials in April began eliminating 337 mostly part-time positions, which resulted in more than 100 layoffs.

The libraries also reduced hours and instituted a daily 30-cent fine for overdue books and materials, a $2 fee for nonmember visits and a $1 fee for library members to check out materials when unable to present a card.

Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin is slated to present his version of the 2011 fiscal year budget on Feb. 23.

By Derek Kravitz  |  January 25, 2010; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

Posted by: SGalahad | January 26, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow - this photo is really scary. I knew that the library budget had been slashed, but this is sad. How can we stand by and watch when our public libraries are being decimated? The library budget is so small and libraries help so many people in an economic downturn. Why is Fairfax County cutting library budgets? That's not good stewardship of public money.

Posted by: hopeful10 | January 27, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

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