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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Juneteenth Rally in Vienna — “A rally will take place outside the First Baptist Church of Vienna Friday evening on Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.” [Tysons Reporter]

ICYMI — Government offices in Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church are closed today due to Juneteenth. [Tysons Reporter]

List of LGBTQ+ Books — Fairfax County’s public libraries have a variety of LGBTQ+ books for tweens available in the digital collection. [Fairfax County]

Library Parking Plans Move Forward — “Vienna Town Council members on June 15 approved an agreement with the Fairfax County government for the design and construction of a parking structure at the soon-to-be-renovated Patrick Henry Library.” [Inside NoVa]

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The Vienna Town Council has a full agenda — from the upcoming budget to solar panels to public parking for Patrick Henry Library’s renovation — for tonight’s meeting.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the items the officials will consider.

Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget, Tax Rate

The Vienna Town Council will consider adopting the proposed $41 million budget and real estate tax rate of $0.2250 per $100 of assessed value for FY 2020-2021.

The town staff and officials revised the budget due to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, expecting lower revenues and “a return to more normal circumstances by Dec. 31,” according to town documents.

The changes included decreasing the General Fund by $2.5 million.

Parking at Patrick Henry Library

The councilmembers are set to vote on a design and construction agreement with Fairfax County for the public parking included in Patrick Henry Library’s renovation.

In the agreement, the town would contribute funds for the design and construction of the parking spaces with options to terminate the agreement if the town decides to not move forward with the parking spaces.

More from the town documents:

The design costs for the Town are now capped at the lesser of 30% of the total design costs or $850,000, as compared to draft agreement with the lesser of 35% of the total design costs or $1,000,000. The construction costs for the Town are now capped at the lesser of 19% of the total construction costs or $4,200,000, as compared to the draft agreement with the lesser of 25% of the total construction costs or $4,500,000.

The Town has included funds for the design phase of this project in the 2020 CIP. The intention is to fund the construction phase of the project, at least in part, with transportation grants related to commuter parking. The Town currently is in the process of applying for grants.

The county’s Board of Supervisors also needs to vote on the agreement.

Solar Panel Push

Vienna officials will decide whether or not to approve offering Solarize NOVA this year.

The program, which informs residents and businesses on how to purchase solar energy, first arrived in the town in 2015 and is run by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program, according to town documents.

“Since 2015, 29 Solarize contracts have been signed in Vienna for over 230 kW of power. Vienna is the highest zip code for solar kW within the Solarize NOVA campaign,” according to the documents.

The dates for the program are still being finalized, but people can expect the campaign to run from June to September.

COVID-19 Challenges

Vienna officials will also consider re-adopting an emergency ordinance that makes it easier for businesses to use outdoor space.

The ordinance lets Town Manager Mercury Payton allow temporary waivers of zoning regulations to businesses so that they can operate outside.

“Under normal circumstances, business owners would be required to pursue a formal process-delaying their ability to reopen and impeding support for [the] revitalization of the local economy in Vienna,” according to town documents.

The meeting is set to start at 8 p.m.

Image via Town of Vienna

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MCA Backs Building Changes for CityLine — “McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on June 3 unanimously backed a resolution supporting CityLine Partners LLC’s proposed development amendments to build one building instead of two at a site in [Tysons].” [Inside NoVa]

Fairfax Officer Arrested After Tasing Black Man — “The actions of a Fairfax County police officer who used a Taser to subdue an African American man on Friday were “horrible” and “disgusting,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. says… The officer, Tyler Timberlake, has been charged with three counts of assault and battery and faces up to 36 months in prison if convicted.” [Inside NoVa]

ICYMI: Hundreds Gathered at Falls Church Protest — “Hundreds of people filled Cherry Hill Park on Sunday afternoon for the ‘Falls Church Justice for Black Lives Rally.'” [Tysons Reporter]

High Demand for Libraries’ Curbside Pick-Up — “Across the entire Fairfax County library system, customers demonstrated their hunger for the library’s services by checking out 11,000 items from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, the first day of curbside service. For comparison, on the last Monday prior to branch closures in March, when libraries were operating at full capacity, there were about 12,500 checkouts between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.” [Vienna Patch]

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Book lovers can check out books and pick up holds at Fairfax County Public Libraries beginning next week — albeit under different circumstances.

On Monday, June 1, FCPL will kick off a curbside pickup and grab bag program. Although libraries remained closed, patrons can park in designated areas, call the bank number and pick up any items on holds. Patrons must provide their library card over the phone. Once the items have been deposited on a designated pickup table and library staff has returned to the building, items may be picked up.

Over the phone, residents can also request a specific book or a grab-and-go bag prepared by staff based on reading levels and preferences.

All returned library materials, however, should be deposited in the library’s book drop. Returns will be accepted based on a staggered system since more than 500,000 items are currently are in the queue to be returned:

On Mondays we will accept returns from borrowers with last names beginning with letters A-H (Anderson, Daqqa, Howard, etc.). On Wednesdays we will accept returns from borrowers with last names beginning with letters I-Q (Jefferson, Nguyen, Park, etc.), and on Fridays we will accept returns from borrowers with last names beginning with letters R-Z (Rodriquez, Shen, Williams, etc.).

Staff will wear cloth face masks and all books will be packaged in a plastic bag in order to “streamline handling.”

More information about changes to services is available online.

Image via Fairfax County

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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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Fairfax County’s public library system wants to capture people’s COVID-19 experiences for its historical records collection.

The library system is looking for diary entries, photographs, artworks, videos — anything that documents what people’s lives are like during the pandemic.

People can submit material on their pandemic experiences anonymously or with their name attached as a “digital donation” via a Google Form. Submissions will be accepted through June 10.

The information will be used for a project for the Virginia Room, which contains historical records at the City of Fairfax Regional Library.

Image via Fairfax Library/Twitter 

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(Updated 3/31/2020) A new local “toy library” plans to open tomorrow (March 31) in Falls Church — offering families the chance to refresh their toy supply, according to owner Lisa Bourven.

The Toy Nest (98 N. Washington Street) will let shoppers who have memberships rent toys, games and puzzles for up to two weeks, according to a press release, which added that people may also purchase and trade toys.

“The service will feature online reservation and curbside pickup of over 1,000 disinfected toys,” the press release said.

Once concerns around COVID-19 ease, the Toy Nest will also include open play spaces where members can enjoy 2,100 square feet of play space that can be booked for parties and other events, Bourven said in the press release. The location will not accept reservations until mid-May.

Memberships range from $25 to $45, the website said. “All members, monthly and annual, are able to use our online and curbside service,” Bourven said.

The hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

“Toy libraries foster family connection and play-based learning while reducing expenses, waste, clutter and environmental impact,” the press release said. “They have a long history in the United States, dating back to the Great Depression, and are popular in other parts of the country and the world.”

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(Updated 3/19/2020) Fairfax County announced today (Sunday) more closures to prevent the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Starting Monday (March 16), indoor parks, community facilities and libraries will be closed for two weeks.

“The impacted facilities include recreation, nature, community, resource and teen centers, as well as golf courses, historic sites and (permitted use of) athletic fields and picnic shelters,” the county said.

Some of the closures will allow the facilities to be used as meal distribution centers, the county said.

Earlier today, the county said it has closed senior and adult day health care centers until further notice.

Image via Fairfax County

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Updated 2/26/2020 — Corrects D’Orazio’s title.

After months of deliberation, the Vienna Town Council still has not decided on a course of action for the parking situation for the upcoming redesign of the Patrick Henry Library.

At the council’s meeting last night (Feb. 24), Mayor Laurie DiRocco lead a conversation regarding a potential timeline for the project and deliberated cost and design options along with the fellow council members.

The parking will serve not only as parking for the library (101 E. Maple Ave) but also for nearby businesses in the town as well.

The parking was the main topic of debate. Currently, there are two options that the council can pursue, according to Michael D’Orazio, Vienna’s deputy director of planning and zoning. One option would include 84 spaces with two levels of parking above the ground-level library, while the option would have 188 spaces and three levels of parking.

Regardless of the option chosen, the town will be responsible for paying either 35% or up to a maximum of $1 million for the design phase, according to a presentation given at the meeting– meaning the town will be getting a better deal.

For the two-story option, the town will have to pay the smaller amount of either 25% or $4.5 million For the three-story option, the town will need to pay either 40% or $9 million.

Working on the current timeframe, the design phase of the project is expected to be completed by March 2022, according to the meeting presentation.

If the Town Council decides to back out of the project at this time, they would only receive a 50% rebate on design costs from Fairfax County, according to D’Orazio. If the town were to back out in Sept. 2021, it would receive an 85% reimbursement.

“That seems higher than I was told on this several years ago,” Councilmember Howard Springsteen said at the meeting, expressing concern over the financial burden on the town.

To help pay for the costs, the mayor said that the town will be applying for grants to help supplement the budget.

To save money, Fairfax County also agreed to waive permit fees for the project, which will save roughly $400,000-$700,000 for the town, according to DiRocco, who said she wants to save the money for a “cushion.”

Going forward, town councilmembers said that they will continue discussions on the best course of action for the parking situation in the town.

Image courtesy Town of Vienna

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