Letter to the Editor: Vote Yes for Library Bonds

As voters weigh $25 million in bonds for library renovations on Nov. 6 ballots, two residents say there is "payback to all residents when these libraries are renovated."

To the Editor:

There are a lot of choices we will make on November 6th, but there is one that will improve the quality of life for all Fairfax residents, and it is not subject to competing politicians or last minute veto.

The authorization to issue $25 million of bonds to improve three public libraries and relocate one will result in changes that we can see, feel and enjoy. The John Marshall Community Library and Pohick and Tysons-Pimmitt Regional libraries will be renovated and brought up to current standards for modern libraries by upgrading building systems, computer access, and energy efficiency. In addition, quiet and group study areas will be added along with conference space. Improvements to building systems will save on energy costs, and enhancements to study areas and conference space will benefit everyone from students to researchers to anyone who wants to learn something new. In addition to upgrading these three libraries, $10 million of the bond issue will be dedicated to relocating the Reston Regional Library. The current Reston Library building, located just north of Reston Town Center, is in an area slated for redevelopment, and bond funds will be used for site studies, design and construction once a new site is identified.

Residents of Fairfax County need look no further than the Martha Washington Library in the Alexandria section of the county or the Richard Byrd Library in Springfield to see concrete results from past bond issues. The renovations to these facilities dramatically changed the library experience by offering a brighter, more functional building to better meet the needs of library users. In addition, they are LEED certified, a peer-reviewed process to validate a decrease in construction costs while reducing negative environmental impacts and improving the health and well-being of library employees and users.

The value of our 22 libraries is reflected in the nearly 6 million visits made last year. And our libraries do much more than check out books or DVDs. They are used for everything from club and community meetings to education. Stop by any of our libraries after school and see how many children are reading, receiving homework help, or being tutored by one of hundreds of volunteers. Many of our libraries are literally bursting at the seams and the improvements the bond issue will provide will greatly lower the strain.

Fairfax County enjoys a triple-A rating from both Moody's and Standard and Poor which translates into lower interest costs for bonds and a savings to taxpayers. The triple-A rating also reflects the judicious use of borrowing by the county and a prudent financial management policy designed to protect the triple-A rating. And there is payback to all residents when these libraries are renovated: when they enter a brighter and more functional building which meets their needs, whether to check out a book, hold a meeting or do some research.



Chris and Rich Peterson
Members of the Friends of the Richard Byrd Library
Residents of Fairfax County

novaguy1968 October 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Please be more specific about the "non-library functions."
John G October 31, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The Reston Library has become a gathering space for the homeless overflow from the adjacent Embry Rucker shelter. Groups loiter out front, asking people for money, use the restrooms as washing facilites. Is this what makes sense for us to have our children exposed to when they are trying to use the library facilities? Anything that relocates the shelter away from the library , the day care center next to it, and the Sunrise Assisted Living center is a plus
Jon Doe November 01, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Oh no! The homeless! Quick, cover your kids eyes so they don't have to see the real world. While, I don't believe anyone should solicit money in front of the library, I don't know where you would want folks to wash other than a restroom. The shelter is open (during the warmer months) four times a week for washing. For two hours each day. You've got seventy men trying to use two sinks and three showers. It's a nightmare. A little understanding and caring go a long way. I pray you never have to utilize the shelter, but maybe a volunteering shift would do you good(disclaimer: written by a guy who was in Rucker last winter. I was grateful to have the library as a warm place to sit on my days off. I've since, with the help of some wonderful people, been able to find a home.)
Annandalean November 02, 2012 at 01:27 AM
About the money: In states where studies have been conducted, the mean return on investment for libraries is $4.43 for every $1.00 spent. About the Internet: Not everyone has home access. According to the Washington Post on 10/20, the number of homeless students in FCPS will top 2,500 this year. They need the computers to do basic homework. Many people use the computers to find and apply for jobs.
Josh November 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM
A child seeing grown men wash in a restroom is ridiculous. Of course, John Doe, you must realize that a shower is a place to wash your body and a restroom is a place to wash your hands, right? I would have more understanding if they didn't ask the children for money while their parents are right next to them. (look me in my eye, not my eight year old)


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