Tysons, VA

As the state relaxes public health guidelines, Fairfax County public libraries will soon be open to the public.

Beginning Monday, July 13, patrons can take advantage of express services that focus on “grab-and-go style” activities. Patrons can browse shelves, use computers and pick up holds.

But even though the state entered phase three of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan, restrictions will be in place. All daily visits will be limited to 30 minutes.

During the first week of express services, library staff will explain the new model and make sure capacity limits are maintained. Disposable masks will also be offered to library patrons.

Here’s more on other modifications:

  • Each branch will have a capacity limit to allow social distancing to take place
  • Virtual programs will continue
  • Meeting rooms will be unavailable
  • Furniture will be removed from the public floor
  • No donated materials will be accepted
  • No print daily newspapers or in-house laptops will be offered
  • No in-person programming will take place
  • Plexiglass shields will be installed at customer service desks
  • Every other PC will be disabled

Curbside services will continue for patrons who are not yet comfortable using library facilities. The service is offered daily except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Express services will be open on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Image via Fairfax County

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Due to the coronavirus, book lovers will have to wait a few more months for the NoVa Bookstore Crawl, which includes two book stores in the Tysons area.

The inaugural NoVa Bookstore Crawl was originally scheduled for Independent Bookstore Day on April 25, but will now take place Aug. 29.

The NoVa Bookstore Crawl was designed to include several different independent bookstores located in Northern Virginia, from Arlington to Vienna. The event includes Bards Alley and Big Planet in Vienna.

Following the design of the well-known “bar crawl”, participants travel from bookstore to bookstore, experiencing the unique celebrations of each stop.

“There are similar passport programs in other cities,” said Anna Thorne, the organizer of the NoVa Book Crawl event. “D.C. has an extremely vibrant bookstore scene.”

Each bookstore involved in the book crawl will have different events. For Bards Alley in Vienna, activities will some fun for Harry Potter fans.

“We have guest booksellers who are local authors… We also have activities for kids on our patio. They are usually Harry Potter-themed,” said Jen Morrow, the owner of Bards Alley in Vienna.

“We were going to have a golden ticket worth a $100 gift card to spend in the store, just to get people out to celebrate all independent businesses,” Morrow added.

The bookstore is known for its community ties. In the past, Bards Alley has had food and wine specials in their cafe and a massive book scavenger hunt throughout the Town of Vienna. 

The organization behind Independent Bookstore Day moved the national celebration to August, which provided the new date to reschedule the crawl, according to Thorne.

“Independent Bookstore Day has gone on for five years,” said Thorne. The idea for the crawl came from a similar event that occurred in D.C. last year, which Thorne described as a huge success. 

The festivities are only available on Independent Bookstore Day in-person — “Not before, Not after. Not online,” according to Independent Book Store Day’s official website.  The website emphasizes that bookstores are not a “dying anachronism,” but a continuously expanding industry. 

Participants in the bookstore crawl will carry a map of the participating places with them and will receive a stamp after each stop and a prize for visiting five.

The full list of participating book stores:

  • Bards Alley (Vienna)
  • Big Planet (Vienna)
  • Hooray for Books! (Alexandria)
  • Old Town Books (Alexandria)
  • One More Page (Arlington)
  • Scrawl (Reston)

Although Independent Bookstore Day is postponed for nearly three months, independent bookstores ask readers to continue supporting their businesses by purchasing books from their websites, picking up curbside or ordering delivery. People can also purchase gift cards or donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation

Photo via Bards Alley/Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tysons Corner Center is working with community members to help those in need by providing an &pizza meal to healthcare workers. Anyone who wants to sponsor a healthcare worker by providing a meal can text #FEEDTHEM to 200-03, the page said.

Those seeking live entertainment can choose to check out 1st Stage Theatre’s Facebook page, where the arts organization posts videos of its talented cast members posting videos of them performing various songs and acts.

Tuesday (May 19)

  • Stuff the Bus — People can drop off non-perishable goods to help community members in need at both the  James Lee Community Center (2855 Annandale Road) Falls Church and the Patrick Henry Library (101 Maple Ave E.) in Vienna from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
  • Virtual Mystery Fiction Book Group — At 7 p.m. people can join a virtual conversation about “My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel.” People must pre-register online to receive the link. This event is hosted by One More Page Books.

Thursday (May 21)

Saturday (May 23)

  • Performers in Quarantine — Starting at 2 p.m. 1st Stage Theatre will hold one of its community conversations via Zoom with performances by actors in the upcoming show “The Nance share.” The actors will share what their creative experiences have been like during the pandemic.

Photo courtesy Caboose Commons

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Fairfax County put out an all-call for independent authors who want to submit their work to the Virginia Author Project Contest.

The statewide fiction contest allows people to compete for several prizes, according to Fairfax County.

To qualify, each submission must be independently published, either in the adult fiction or young adult fiction genre, written by a Virginia resident and available in certain file formats, the website said.

Prizes include:

  • $500 each in adult and young adult categories
  • Honors at the 2021 spring IAP Reception
  • Opportunities to promote your book(s) at Virginia public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal
  • Opportunities to earn royalties through the IAP Select collection

Anyone interested can submit their work online before May 31.

This story also appeared on our sister site Reston Now

Photo via Thought Catalog/Unsplash

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During these challenging times, we want to know what you’re doing to try to stay happy and healthy.

Self-care ranges from physical health to emotional wellness. While social distancing guidelines and Virginia’s stay-at-home order have restricted certain activities like gathering with friends at a restaurant, shopping at malls and going to movie theaters, many businesses have pivoted to virtual offerings.

Previously, Tysons Reporter has rounded up online workout classes from local gyms, bookstores offering delivery and curbside pickup and virtual religious services.

We also have a list of restaurants offering take-out and delivery in the Tysons area. For people wanting to make their own staycation, we have a guide for that too.

Let us know how you’re practicing self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vote for your favorite from the list below and feel free to share your other top picks in the comments section.

Photo via Avrielle Suleiman on Unsplash

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After discovering her love for storytelling at age 8, Cooper Middle School student and McLean resident Chloe Middleton has now published her first book in a new series called BunnyElla.

BunnyElla is about a young bunny who finds herself put in a position where she has to be brave and make certain decisions that will guide her life, according to the book’s description.

“It’s a book for everybody,” Chloe said, adding that people of all ages can take away something different from it. 

According to Chloe’s mom, Ang, common themes in the book include overcoming peer pressure and challenging cliche fairy tale tropes.

After the book’s official release on March 24, Chloe said she was overwhelmed by the positive response she received from her peers and her community at school — including a personal phone call from the administration at her school praising her work.

All of the artwork in the book is the creative product of Chloe and her younger sister, Adeline. To brighten up the colors, Ang noted that the family also hired an artist to digitize their artwork before it went to print.

To help women in need during the coronavirus pandemic, Chloe said that some of the proceeds from the book will be donated to Calvary Women’s Services, which assists women experiencing homelessness in the D.C. area.

Currently, Chloe said that she is working on a sequel to BunnyElla, adding that it will likely be a chapter book further exploring the themes in the first book. When she isn’t writing, Chloe said she also enjoys playing the piano and participating in sports.

People can purchase BunnyElla on Amazon.

Image courtesy Chloe Middleton 

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Though many in-person events are canceled, organizations and businesses are setting up digital events to keep people occupied.

Tuesday (April 21)

  • Free Mecial Traning The American Red Cross in McLean is putting together digital training for people who want to learn about adult and pediatric first aid, CPR, lifeguarding and more at 9 a.m. This training is free but participants must sign up online.
  • Online Budget Town Hall — Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust will host a digital budget town hall from 7-8:30 p.m. People can submit questions by calling 703-324-1114, post them in a comment under the Facebook Live event or email them in advance. The town hall will also be shown on Channel 16 and be streamed online.
  • Virtual Trivia at Lost Dog Cafe The cafe is hosting free trivia for community members starting at 7 p.m., streamed live from the location in McLean. This event is free and prizes will be mailed to winners, the event page said. People who want to support the eatery can order from the location’s menu and can use the code “delivery” for free delivery.

Thursday (April 23)

Friday (April 24)

  • Mother Goose Minutes Every Friday, the Mary Riley Styles Public Library will post a story time and music video for kids featuring Miss Laura starting at 10:30 a.m., the post said. Anyone who wants to check out the rhymes beforehand can find them online. The videos can be found on the library’s website after they are posted.
  • Friday Art Focus — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library is hosting a free Facebook Live event at 3 p.m. with local artist and illustrator Samantha Fiddy. She will be recreating drawings sent in by viewers beforehand. Anyone interested in participating can tune in or submit work to be recreated to [email protected] People can follow the library’s Facebook post for a link closer to the event.

Saturday (April 25)

  • Virtual Independent Bookstore Day Bards Alley Bookshop in Vienna is planning a virtual day of activities and guests from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to its Facebook page. Details have not been announced yet but people can check the store’s social media accounts for details. People can order books online for curbside pick-up (110 Church Street NW).

Photo via Bards Alley Bookshop/ Facebook

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People who are staying home and looking to do some reading can still order books while supporting local businesses.

Tysons Reporter rounded up the book stores around Falls Church, Vienna, Merrifield and Tysons that are offering delivery services and curbside pickup.

One More Page Books

The Falls Church bookstore (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) is offering virtual offer talks, online book groups and delivery for book orders.

The store stopped offering curbside delivery to encourage people to stay at home, according to its website.

Staff are taking phone and online orders for people living in parts of North Arlington, Falls Church and McLean. Bibliophiles can get their orders delivered or shipped.

People looking to support the bookstore can buy gift cards and become Libro.fm members.

Victory Comics

The comic book and game store (586 S. Washington Street) is accepting orders and making deliveries within 10 miles of the shop at noon and 5 p.m. daily, according to Facebook posts.

The Falls Church store will start closing at 6 p.m. every day “for the foreseeable future,” a Facebook post said.

Bards Alley

The indie bookshop (110 Church Street NW) in Vienna is taking phone and email orders with “minimal contact” curbside pickup and “Bike Pedalers delivery service,” according to its website.

People can order bottles of wine, snacks and games along with their books. Gift cards are also available.

Events and book clubs have been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Big Planet Comics 

The comic book store chain is offering 25% off graphic novels, hardcovers, and softcover, according to its website.

The Vienna store (426 E. Maple Avenue) is temporarily closed, but accepting mail order delivery orders, according to the website.

People can find information about Facebook Live events on the store’s Facebook page.

Barnes and Noble

The bookstore giant has two local stores: Tysons Corner Center and the Mosaic District.

Both locations are temporarily closed but offering curbside pickup for online orders, according to its website.

Barnes and Noble has information about its upcoming live events on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo via One More Page Books/Facebook

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A local author says her upcoming mystery novel is her “love letter” to Vienna.

“To Kill a Mocking Girl” is about a woman who investigates the death of someone named Tricia after being framed for her murder, according to the author’s website.

Harper Kincaid said that though the book is fiction, it is set in Vienna and includes local spots such as Bards Alley bookstore and the Freeman Store.

“I got a kick out of sharing with readers some of my favorite places in town,” she said.

There are many real-life residents written into the book too, she said, adding that she wonders if local readers can guess who they are.

Kincaid wasn’t born in the town but moved there around 2006 and said the townspeople help her to feel at home.

Though a hard copy of the book was set to launch in May, the publicist told Tysons Reporter that the physical book launch has been pushed to June 9 after a prerelease of the e-book on May 12.

Currently, the book is available for preorder but it is unclear when it will actually ship.

Depending on how things progress, Kincaid said she is considering having a book launch on June 9 at 7 p.m. in Bards Alley bookstore where she wants to give away a gift-basket valued at around $250.

Image courtesy Harper Kincaid

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(Updated 3/10/2020) The annual NoVa TEEN Book Festival has been canceled due to the recent spread of the coronavirus in the D.C. area.

The free festival was originally set to feature 35 bestselling and new young adult authors, like Alechia Dow and Kristen Simmons, and Brigid Kemmerer, the author of “A Heart So Fierce and Broken,” will provide as the keynote speaker on Pi Day (March 14).

The NoVa TEEN Book Festival Committee said in a statement today (Tuesday) that the festival will return to Marshall High School on March 20, 2021.

“With the recent spread of COVID-19 to the Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC Metro areas, we are unable to ensure that all of our authors, volunteers, exhibitors, staff and attendees will be safe at the festival this weekend,” the statement said.

The committee said that the cancellation of this year’s festival will “have a significant impact on all of our amazing authors” and urged people to connect with authors online and “share their books as widely as you can.”

The committee also encouraged people to buy books from Arlington-based One More Page Books, which was set to sell signed books at the festival.

“The NoVa TEEN book festival ordering pages will stay up to help you to discover new authors and explore their fantastic books,” the statement said. “One More Page will be giving away free [advance reading copies] and swag with NoVa TEEN orders as long as supplies last!”

Photo via Kimberly Farmer/Unsplash

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