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RCA: Library Should Be a Top Priority for Town Center North

by Karen Goff — September 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm 9 Comments

Reston Regional LibraryThe Reston Citizens Association is concerned that the Reston Regional Library will be minimized in the upcoming Reston Town Center North development plans.

Fairfax County is preparing for the redevelopment of 49 acres from New Dominion Parkway to Bowman Town Drive and Town Center Parkway to Fountain Drive. The area encompasses the current Reston Regional Library, the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, the North County Human Services Center and the former Cameron Glen Care Center site.

The development will be completed in phases, and the county recently received Requests for Proposals (RFP) for developers interested in working on the first two phases. There will be more discussion on the RFP at a community meeting Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reston Community Center Lake Anne).

In a white paper authored by RCA member Hank Schonzeit, RCA highlights the importance of Reston Regional Library in the community and outlines concerns such as a long shutdown, like the one at Pohick Library, which recently closed for renovations for an estimated 18 months.

“The Reston Regional Library is an integral and vital part of Reston and for many of us it is one of our most valued local institutions,” reads the white paper. “It is also the busiest library in the Fairfax library system. At the same time the community recognizes that the Reston Regional Library is currently undersized, underfunded and understaffed.

The library goals are derived from RCA discussions with library staff, email correspondence, and independent research. Library staff was not asked to take an official “position” as they are employees of the County, said RCA.

Some of RCA’s goals for the new library:

  • The library management should have oversight and final review of the design of a new library.
  • The Phase I redevelopment should include a modern, accessible library, with adequate dedicated free parking.
  • Given that the Phase I of the RTC North redevelopment does not include Blocks 1, 3 and 5, the location of a rebuilt library should be within Blocks 7 and 8.
  • The new library must be sized right, for both Reston’s current and planned growth – between 60,000 and 80,000 square feet.
  • Funding for the increased staff needed for a larger library should be allocated by Fairfax County.
  • The redevelopment should eliminate or minimize the time that library is in temporary quarters.
  • Consideration should be given to opportunities for added revenue generation such as the inclusion of a café within or adjacent to the library.

“Many Restonians feel that the library is under siege,” the author continues. “The library budgets continue to be cut and many staff positions have been left unfilled. At the same time, other local counties are investing more in their libraries. For instance, Loudoun County has one library staff person per 1,500 residents, while Fairfax County has one per 3,000 residents.

“At the July 29 meeting both speakers stated only that the library ‘may’ be included in the redevelopment. Given this atmosphere, RCA is concerned that the library will be moved to temporary quarters and remain there for years, as have the classroom trailers around Reston. “

The white paper also has suggestion a smooth transition for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter. The paper suggests the shelter relocate temporarily to the former site of the Cameron Glen Care Center, which would be renovated to house the shelter. The paper points out that Cameron Glen already has sleeping quarters, an institutional kitchen and other facilities a shelter would need.

The paper suggests building the new library on the site of both the current library and the shelter and building a new shelter eventually on a parcel closer to Town Center Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

“This approach satisfies the major requirements for RTC North redevelopment, Phase I,” the white paper says. “It allows for uninterrupted operation of the library and the Embry Rucker Community Shelter; provides additional space for both (currently undersized) facilities; and addresses the challenge of placing market-price housing near a homeless shelter.”

See the entire white paper in the document below.

TC North Redevelopment – RCA White Paper

  • Jane Plain

    They better not close my source of free child care, private daycares are way too expensive!

  • Seriously, Its 2015

    Sighhhhh. With everything going digital, this is just a huge investment into a soon to be outdated resource. This money would be much better spent getting tablets into all of our local schools so that kids could have access to all sort of valuable content and our schools wouldn’t need to invest in hardbound books that are outdated before they come off the press. Ideally, we could cut the size of this project drastically and simply put in a large public computer center where people can have free access to computers and internet. From my experience, this is the most popular item at the current Reston Library.

    • Library Advocate

      You might be interested in this post from the Fairfax Library Advocates regarding the cost of ebooks for libraries. http://ffxlibraryadvocates.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-cost-of-ebooks-vs-print-books-for.html

    • Ming the Merciless

      Dumb. Tablets are a source of distraction and the “knowledge” they can access is highly dubious. Hardbound books are, and will remain, the only real source of serious knowledge. The “popularity” of the internet at the library is precisely the reason it should be eliminated — too many people in there playing games and surfing the web, which they can easily do elsewhere. No need for the taxpayers to fund that totally redundant leisure activity.

      • JohnGalt_Inventor

        IF you get rid of the internet at the library, where will the homeless go to look at pornography?

        • Ricky Spanish

          Let’s not forget about the Terrorists and Criminals using library internet.

  • Wings!!

    I’d say its more of a top priority that Reston gets a Hooters.

    #HootersForReston

    • Lisa W

      I agree. How often in the past year have I wanted to go out for wings? Hmmm…let’s say about 20 times. How often have I wanted to go check out books and then return them to the library two week later? Hmmm…let’s say about never.

  • Greg

    Ah, the lefty libbys’ favorite nonsense: It’s not affordable. Internet is $10 a month. Anyone can afford that, have it 24 x 7 and surf what they want without library filters.

    https://apply.internetessentials.com/

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