Reston 2020: Fairfax County Library Spending Falls Short

Reston Regional LibraryFairfax County spends less on its library system than any other nearby jurisdiction, says a new report by advocacy group Reston 2020.

“Fairfax County, one of the top household income earning counties in the United States, is among the worst in funding the operation of its public libraries, especially in comparison with other area library systems, says Reston 2020 co-chair Terry Maynard.

At $24.10 per person, Fairfax spends less than three-quarters of its nearest competitor, Prince Georges County ($32.49) does on a per capita basis and less than 40 percent of what Washington, DC, the top library spending jurisdiction in our area,” writes Maynard.

“Reaching outside the local area to “mountain Maryland” Garrett County — the westernmost county in the state and location of Deep Creek Lake, a regional four-season resort area with a population of less than 30,000 people — we find that that county spends nearly twice as much per capita on its library as does Fairfax County.”

Reston 2020 crunched the numbers hoping to have an impact as the Fairfax County Supervisors prepare to vote on a FY 2015 budget — one that cuts library spending. Maynard sent the report to the Board of Supervisors, along with a request that they find an additional $2 million for the library system.

See the entire Reston 2020 report here.

The library system has been struggling of late. Last year, it planned to institute a Beta Plan at regional branches in Reston and Burke. The plan would reorganize staffing with a central help desk as a cost-saving measure. After mcuh negative public feedback ,the plan was shelved.

The Fairfax County Public Library has eight regional and 14 community libraries. More than 5.2 million people visited the FCPL in FY 2013, the county says. The FY 2014 allocation for the library was $28,922,907.

The amount on the advertised budget for FY 2015 is $27,678,031. While the overall amount is lower, the allocation allows for an increase of $275,000 for new materials, an increase in $275,000 for personnel and $61,500 for computer replacement.

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