Libraries Prepared for Cuts if Necessary

A $374,000 reduction could make some titles less available at Fairfax County branches, including Patrick Henry Library in Vienna.

Fairfax County Public Libraries are ready to reduce some book availability at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna, along with other branches, if cuts in the county's proposed FY 2014 budget are approved in April, officials say.

In his advertised $7 billion budget package presented to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, County Executive Ed Long proposed removing $374,000 from the library’s collections budget, which it uses to buy books and stock the shelves.

“We are aware of the advertised budget that the county exec put out and we have thought about how we would implement the reductions to the collections budget that he stated,” said Mary Mulrenan, the public library marketing director, adding nothing is final, but "if it went through as is we are prepared to make the changes necessary.”

This is not the first year that libraries have seen cuts in the budget, Mulrenan said.

“Unfortunately, our collections department has become experienced at trying to figure out how to reduce the collections budget and still get people as much as they want,” she said.

Patrick Henry is one of 23 branches across the county. 

Residents can still expect to find the popular titles and bestsellers at their local libraries but they might have to wait longer to get them.

“The most popular books, the bestsellers, we’re going to buy,” Mulrenan said. “We just might not be able to buy as many copies as we’d like to.”

Collections staff would also prioritize books that students need for school, including reading lists and homework.

“We’re always going to buy the books that are necessary to meet those functions,” she said. “Everything else, then, we’re going to have to balance.”

But specialty titles – books on cooking, travel and decorating, for instance – might not be as available.

“Some of those books can be expensive, so those might be the kinds of titles we might not have as many of,” she said.

Have something to say about the proposed budget cuts? Speak out in the comments, or our local voices section.

re February 28, 2013 at 03:06 PM
"But specialty titles – books on cooking, travel and decorating, for instance – might not be as available." - Probably a good area to start cutting budget regardless, especially since those books can be the most expensive. Cooking, travel, and decorating. Also known as the three areas easiest to find an overwhelming amount of valuable (and free) information on the internet.


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