News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome to the '90s: Will Reston's Library Become an Internet Cafe, With Books? (Updated)

RRL.jpgWhether it's jet-age air conditioning or enlightened master planning, Reston seems to have cemented its reputation as a unwilling guinea pig place to experiment with all sorts of exciting new ideas. So why not let our library, the county's busiest branch, be part of a Grand Experiment as well?

For the last month or so, people have been up in arms over proposed plans to "pilot" a new library organizational structure at Reston Regional Library (and another library in the county's other, lamer, planned community, Burke). Along with reducing the number of staff positions and dropping the requirement that most positions have a masters degree in library science, the changes would reduce information librarians and children's librarians because, you know, Ask Jeeves Altavista Yahoo Google. At the same time, the library system is already getting rid of tons of those, whazzitcalled, books that just take up shelf space better used for other things, like these newfangled "computers" that are connected, by wires, to a "world wide web" of "networks" by which people can access, among other things, filthy "web logs." In a letter, RCA's Terry Maynard asks:

A question: Where can’t you get free Wifi access these days? I get it even at the local car wash. So what’s the tax dollar “value added” of this model? On the other hand, where else can I borrow books for free? I can’t even browse and buy them in Reston at Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or the Little Professor anymore.
Yesterday, Hunter Mill Superintendent Cathy Hudgins issued her own statement saying she has "grave concerns with the information circulating," which is actually an awesome pun, but you need to have a master's degree in library science to get it. Levity aside, Hudgins continues:
While the County has struggled in recent budgets with service reductions, I believe we have already gone too far. Please know that I am not in favor of additional limits to library services.

At their July meeting, the Library Board of Trustees wisely delayed implementation of any changes until they had additional opportunity for discussion and to have their questions addressed. The proposed changes will be on the agenda at their upcoming September meeting. In the upcoming days, I will be meeting with our Hunter Mill representative and Library Director Sam Clay to hear the details of the proposal first-hand.
In the meantime, you can sign a fancy online petition expressing your concerns about the proposed changes; so far, more than 1,000 people have done so. Of course, you'll need to get to a computer with Internet access to sign it, which means you might have to wait your turn for one of the paltry number of terminals at the Reston library, maybe flipping through a book or something to pass the time until you can "log on," or whatever it is the kids do these days.

Personally, we think the library system should take a look at other book-related trends in Reston and adjust accordingly. Given the retailer that's replacing Barnes & Noble just down the street, there's obviously a huge untapped demand for the lending and loaning of plastic containers of varying sizes and shapes. Hey, maybe we could put our books in them!

Update: Maynard takes issue with Hudgins' statement, arguing that the county has systematically been cutting library budgets since 2007.


  1. "grave concerns with the information circulating" ... yeah right Supervisor Hudgins... you always promise and yet never ever deliver.

  2. Hudgins is the most useless politician in all of northern Virginia. Doesn't give a damn about anything except her pet hobby horse of "workforce housing". Surprised she hasn't recommended tearing down the library to build more of it.

    1. Shush your mouth! Don't give Hudgins any ideas...
      This plan is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. It is clear that the Library Board of Trustees no longer thinks there is any future in lending libraries and their numerous services. They couldn't be more wrong.
      BTW, the Reston library does sit on a tasty piece of land near the Town Center, doesn't it? Hmmm...

  3. Let's just hope that the developers don't decide that the books and the homeless must go. If that happens, well, the BoS probably couldn't dump the library and the shelter quickly enough -- all in the name of "Fiscal" responsibility.

  4. Rumor has it that FCPL Central Operations, situated at the library in Chantilly has PADLOCKED the dumpsters so no one can see, or photograph, the books that are being sent to the incinerator. Aren't you curious? Any professional lock pickers out there? Be sure and take a camera if you get the dumpsters open. We ALL want to see what Sam Clay is throwing away.


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