Reston, VA

Monday, April 12 

  • Rock the Park (10-11:30 a.m.) — Find a new pet rock! Join NoVa Parks staff for a hike down to the stream at Potomac Overlook Regional Park to introduce yourself to a new rock friend. Then, paint it in whatever colors and designs you like. Afterward, search the nature center for more pet rocks hidden by staff.

Tuesday April 13 

  • Cicadas in Your Garden (7-8 p.m.) — Prepare your garden for Brood X. Adria Bordas, a horticulturalist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, will help local gardeners prepare — and protect — their gardens from the millions of cicadas that are set to emerge in our area come May. This is a virtual event.

Wednesday, April 14

  • Fundamentals of Falling (6-7 p.m.) — Learn how to take a fall safely while exercising. This course from Fairfax County Public Library and the Virginia Spine Institute will help you learn movement patterns and techniques to reduce the risk of injury when you inevitably fall while exercising.

Thursday, April 15

  • Yoga with the Magnolias (5:30-6:30 p.m.) — Take a small, socially distant, in-person yoga class at Carlyle House Historic Park’s Magnolia Terrace in Alexandria. The class is limited to six students to ensure proper spacing. Find a gentle flow while peering into the beautiful scenery.

Friday, April 16

  • World of BBQ (6 p.m.) — Hear James Beard Award-winning chef Rodney Scott talk about the secrets of barbeque in this virtual event hosted by Barnes and Noble and accessible via the store in the Mosaic District.

Saturday, April 17

  • Pollinator Garden Dedication (10 a.m.) — Join in-person or virtually for the dedication ceremony of the new Margaret Kinder Education and Pollinator Garden at Lake Accotink Park. The pollinator garden has 800 plants of 14 varieties with a number of interpretive signs. Kinder, its namesake, is a county educator, naturalist, and a longtime volunteer at the park.
  • Nature Kayaking (2-4 p.m.) — Paddle Lake Fairfax in a kayak with a Fairfax County Parks Authority naturalist. Learn about all the flora and fauna in the lake and what might be swimming underneath your kayak. A single kayak rental is included in the cost.

Sunday, April 18

  • Bird Walk (7:30-10:30 a.m.) — Join fellow birders for an early morning walk around Bright Pond in Reston. A limited number of participants are allowed, and masks must be worn at all times.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday, March 22

  • Get a Book, Return a Book (10 a.m.) – For the first time in a year, all Fairfax County libraries are reopening for express service. All visits will be limited to 30 minutes and capacity is reduced. Users can pick up a book, drop one off, and use the computer. Masks, of course, are required.

Tuesday March 23

  • Astronomy Webinar (7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) – Have you ever wondered what’s out there among the stars? Take this astronomy webinar through Colvin Run Mill Park in Great Falls and maybe you could get closer to some answers.

Wednesday, March 24

  • Forest Bathing (12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m) – Take a bath in the forest, no water needed. Join Smithsonian Associates and certified forest therapy guide Melanie Choukas-Bradley to learn about the meditative, Japanese practice that will re-connect you to nature.

Thursday, March 25

  • Women in History(7:00 p.m.) – Celebrate Women’s History month with best-selling nonfiction author Marie Benedict, the writer behind The Mystery of Mrs. Christie about the mysterious disappearance of the famed author. Buy a signed copy of the book from One More Page Books in Arlington and check out the online talk through Fairfax County Public Libraries.

Friday, March 26

  • Animal Sleepover (5 p.m.) – Drop off your best stuffed friends to Scrawl Books at Reston Town Center for stuffie sleepover where they’ll dance, snack, and play games. Then, at 7:30 p.m., join all the furry pals for a reading of That’s Not a Dog Toy.

Saturday, March 27 

  • Peter and the Wolf (7:30 p.m.) – Start streaming Manassas Ballet Theater’s newest production. Peter and the Wolf was first composed in 1936 as a way to introduce children to orchestral instruments.
  • Underwater Egg Hunt (12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) – The Easter Bunny has lost hundreds of eggs, but somehow they’ve been found… floating in Reston Community Center’s pool. Kids from six months to nine years old are invited to take a dip and find those eggs.

Sunday, March 28

  • Art in Bloom (any time) -The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a mix of in-person and hybrid activities this year. Head to National Landing to gander at a series of five-foot-tall bloom statues created by a host of local artists, including a few from Northern Virginia.
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Monday, March 15

  • Fly Bessie Fly (2 p.m.) — In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States. This virtual one-woman show presented by the Fairfax County Public Library and American Historical Theatre tells her story by bringing the famed pilot to life. All scouts who attend earn a FREE women make history patch.

Tuesday March 16

Wednesday, March 17 

  • St. Paddy’s Day at Home (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) — On St. Patrick’s Day, Reston Association is offering a fun-filled, low-contact egg hunt to members. Their good friend Lucky the Leprechaun will personally deliver and hide two dozen eggs in your yard for all to find. For those who are not members, there is an option for Lucky to simply drop off eggs to be hidden by those at home.
  • Two By Sea Outdoors (6 p.m.) — Join local folk and country rock band Two by the Sea for an outdoor St. Patrick’s Day concert at the State Theater in Falls Church. This is an all-age show entirely outdoors to lower the risk of COVID-19 spread. It will have very limited capacity. Admission is free, but the venue is asking for a donation or a food purchase.

Thursday, March 18

  • Viola, Harp, and Flute (2:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.) — Meet the artists of Beau Soir, a trio of musicians who play viola, harp, and flute. Known for their “unique audience interaction,” the ensemble will perform live, both to a limited audience at the Hunter Woods Community Center and virtually on Facebook.

Friday, March 19

  • Women’s Storytelling Festival (4:00 p.m.) — Friday is the first evening of the 2021 Women’s Storytelling Festival, which will feature more than 30 performers. Presented by Better Said Than Done, a community of storytellers based in Fairfax, this year’s edition is all virtual. “Is it kid-friendly?,” the website asks. “Probably not,” it answers.

Saturday, March 20

  • Spring Equinox Celebration (11 a.m.) — After a pandemic winter, spring is finally here. Join Fairfax County Parks for a spring equinox celebration at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls. Look through a sun telescope and take a (socially distant) walk to learn more about what an equinox is.
  • A Drive-In (6:45 p.m.-9:45 p.m.) — The Reston Association is holding their first-ever drive-in movie. The film will screen at the Isaac Newton Square parking lot starting at 7:30 p.m., though the lot entrance will open at 6:45 p.m. Admission also includes one free bag of popcorn per person. The featured film is still to be determined, but it will be family-friendly.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Cygnus921

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Beginning March 22, Fairfax County Public Library branches will reopen for indoor services.

But library patrons will only be able to visit FCPL branches for up to 30 minutes. Branches will 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.

The changes come after the system offered curbside and online services since mid-January.

Each branch will have capacity limits of up to 30 people for community branches and 60 people for regional branches. Customers over five must wear masks at all times.

The system will also institute a number of social distancing measures, including plexiglass shields, social distancing floor stickers, and limited furniture.

Book donations are not being accepted and returned library materials will be quarantined for 24 hours. Meeting rooms are unavailable.

Even as express services resume, curbside services will continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Sunday.

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Monday, March 8

  • Living in Reston A Long Time Ago (6 p.m.) – Join the Reston Historic Trust and Museum for a trivia night put on by a South Lakes High School student who wanted to learn more about the town she grew up in. It will focus on Reston’s history and what it was like living in Reston in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Tuesday March 9

Wednesday, March 10

  • Paint like Van Gogh (6:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m.) – Create your own Vincent Van Gogh-inspired masterpieces. Join the Fairfax County Public Library staff in using the technique called “impasto,” meaning to lay paint on thickly to make it stand out from the canvas. All art materials will be provided and available for pick-up.

Thursday, March 11

  • Cains Branch (11 a.m.) – Hike the trails in Chantilly and learn the hidden history of this Fairfax County park. Follow the waterway to discover more about the life of early inhabitants who made this area their home.

Friday, March 12

  • Eye of an Eagle (7 p.m.) – Be it date night or family night, see if you can spot the animal by its anatomy at this virtual trivia night hosted by the Reston Association.

Saturday, March 13

  • Drive-Up Movie Night (6 p.m.) – Take a trip to Tysons for a baseball-themed drive-up movie night. Entry cost supports the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and DC Take Steps Program. It’s a double family-friendly feature of “Field of Dreams” & “42: The Jackie Robinson Story.”

Sunday, March 14

  • Birding for Beginners (9 a.m.) – 2021’s hottest new hobby… is birding? As the spring migration season takes flight, join fellow birders at Lake Fairfax to learn how to spot feathered flyers.
  • Founder’s Day (2 p.m.) – A new exhibit at Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery imagines the beginnings of Reston. The art focuses on the seven principles outlined by Reston founder Robert E. Simon. On Sunday, there’s also a reception celebrating the exhibit which will be on display until April 30.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Challah Bread (Photo via Pixabay/dinar_aulia)

Monday, March 1

  • Reston Association Board Election (5 p.m.) – Month-long voting begins at 5 p.m., with residents able to vote online or via their mailed ballot (which is being sent out on March 1). Five candidates are certified for three open seats on the 2021 Board of Directors. Results will be announced in April at the Annual Members’ Meeting.

Tuesday March 2

  • Suburban Space to Natural Oasis (7–8 p.m.) – Kim Young, a naturalist at Annandale’s Hidden Oaks Nature Center, is teaching how to turn a “typical suburban yard into a native plant wildlife habitat.” She’ll go over processes and what plants are right for your suburban space. This is a two part virtual program.

Wednesday, March 3

  • Home Fermenting (1–2 p.m.) – Fermenting vegetables at home have become somewhat of a fad during the pandemic. Join Kathryn Strong from the Virginia Cooperative Extension to learn how to properly do it and the equipment needed.

Thursday, March 4

  • Tom Stoppard (5 p.m.) – Join Smithsonian Associates as they talk with author Hermione Lee about her new biography about one of the greatest living playwrights, Tom Stoppard. He’s the author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and co-writer of the 1998 Oscar winner Shakespeare in Love.

Friday, March 5

  • Drawing Comics (4–5:30 p.m.) – Let the creative juices follow as cartoonist Bud Little guides students through a four-week comic strip class. Students will learn how to create and illustrate basic cartoons using their own characters and settings. The class is intended for kids. It’s being put on by the Arts of Great Falls, it is in-person, and there’s a 7-student maximum.

Saturday, March 6

  • American Girl (11 a.m.) – Authors Erin Teagan and Terry Catasus Jenning are talking girl power with the introduction of their new books. Jennings is introducing her new series Definitely Dominguita and Teagan is talking about her new series about the American Girl Doll of the Year Kira’s adventures. During this Zoom event, four American Girl dolls are being raffled off, including 2018’s American Girl of the year Luciana.
  • Cider Tasting (5 p.m.) – Drink up with a virtual apple cider tasting. Join authors Dan Pucci & Craig Cavallo of the book American Cider: A Modern Guide To A Historic Beverage as they talk and walk through a virtual cider tasting featuring ciders from D.C.’s ANXO.

Sunday, March 7

  • Challah Challah (11 a.m.) – Hannah Wolfman-Arent, baker for popular Sonny’s Pizza in D.C., leads a challah workshop. She’ll teach how to make the classic egg loaf as well as variations like one with garlic jam. A full recipe, an ingredient list, and a step-by-step guide will also be provided prior to the online class.

Photo via Pixabay/dinar_aulia

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Although access to county libraries is currently limited, staff are still finding ways to for library patrons to enjoy services offered by the county’s library system.

Reston Regional Library recently launched a take-home laptop program that allows residents to borrow Chromebooks.  So far, the program is only in effect at the libraries at Reston, Sherwood, George Mason and Centreville.

To place a Chromebook on hold, customers must be age 19 or above and return the laptop to the same branch it was borrowed from. The laptops can be checked out for two weeks and cannot be renewed.

Library staff erase all personal data and reset the laptops once they are returned.

Here’s more from the library on things to know before taking part in the program.

Internet access/Wi-Fi is required to use the Google suite of tools. Internet access/Wi-Fi is not included with this laptop.

Chromebooks support the Google suite of productivity tools, including Docs, Sheets and Slides. These tools can access Microsoft office files, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

You can browse as a guest or use a Gmail account.

If you browse as a guest be aware that your documents and history will be immediately removed when the Chromebook sleeps, restarts or shuts down.

Laptop, cable and bag will be sanitized between borrowers.

Residents can place a hold on laptops online.

Photo via Fairfax County Public Library 

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Tuesday, Feb. 16

  • Bean-efit (4-6 p.m.) – On Mardi Gras, get a free meal from a local restaurant if you work in the hospitality industry. Organized by local restaurateurs (including Bayou Bakery’s David Guas), 25 restaurants across D.C. and Northern Virginia are providing a free bean dish to the first 100 restaurant workers to show up at each location. Among those participating is Taco Bamba in Vienna and Sonoma Wine Bar in Alexandria.

Wednesday, Feb. 17

  • The Black Arts Movement (7 p.m.) – Join Fairfax’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Lambda Kappa Omega Chapter for an online discussion of the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. The event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library.

Thursday, Feb. 18

  • Girl Power! (7 p.m.) – Celebrate the launch of author Jen Petro-Roy’s new book Life in the Balance along with Reston’s Scrawl Books. Then, on March 25, join Scrawl Books and Petro-Roy to ask questions and discuss the book after reading it.

Friday, Feb. 19

  • Animal Predators (6-7 p.m.) – Owls, coyotes, bears, oh my! Learn about all the animal predators stalking the local woods. Afterwards, sit around the campfire at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly and roast up some s’mores.
  • The Places We Forgot (Anytime) – Inhabit once-abandoned locations at this new virtual exhibit from Workman Art Center in Lorton. Photograph artist Brendan L. Smith has taken pictures of abandoned places across the country and the results are enchanting.

Saturday, Feb. 20

  • Raising Ivy (11 a.m. to noon) – Local author Greg Manora details a family’s true story of coming from poverty, slavery, and segregation to football field and the halls of the Ivy League. This event is part of the Fairfax County Library’s series of Black History Month events.

Sunday, Feb. 21

  • Virginia is for Comedy (9 p.m.) – Laugh at locals as the Comedy Roadshow, a 30-minute virtual stand-up show every Sunday, makes its way to Virginia. This Sunday will feature only VA-based comedians, including funny people from Sterling, Arlington, and Richmond.

Photo courtesy of Bayou Bakery

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Monday Morning Notes

Comscore Secures Investment for Stock Deal — The Reston-based media measurement and analytics company is making a cash investment in order to change shares of convertible preferred stock. [Virginia Business]

Library Branches Switch to Curbside Services Only — Beginning Jan. 11, Fairfax County Public Library branches will switch to virtual and curbside services only. [Fairfax County Government]

County Board Asks State Legislators for Flexibility to Recover — “When it comes to what Fairfax County would like to see come out of this year’s state legislative session, flexibility is at the top of the list.” [WTOP]

Police Find Bullet Inside Home — Local police found a bullet lodged inside a home on the 11800 block of Breton Court on Jan. 2. A homeowner called police when they found a shattered glass door and a hole in their curtain. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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As we look forward toward closing the book on 2020 and ring in 2021, there are a few noteworthy closures around the county to be aware of.

Services and government offices throughout Fairfax County have altered their schedules in observance of the New Year’s holiday.

The full list from around the county is as follows:

Fairfax County Government:

  • County government offices will be closed on Jan. 1.

Fairfax County Courts:

  • The Fairfax Circuit, General District, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District courts will be closed all day on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Reston Association:

  • Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and Nature House, will be closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 in observance of the New Year holiday.

Reston Community Centers:

  • RCC Hunters Woods is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Jan. 1.
  • RCC Lake Anne is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, and it is closed on Jan. 1.

 Public Schools:

  • Fairfax County Public Schools remain closed through Jan. 1 for Winter Break. All students will resume classes virtually on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Monday, Jan. 4, is an independent day.

County Libraries, Recreation Centers:

  • All Fairfax County library branches, community and regional, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 31. They will all be closed on Jan. 1.
  • All Fairfax County RECenters, except George Washington RECenter (GWRC), will be open at their regular times and close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31. GWRC will be closed on Dec. 31. All RECenters will be closed on Jan. 1.

Town of Herndon government and services:

  • Government offices will be closed on Jan. 1.
  • The Herndon Community Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 31, but it will be closed on Jan. 1.
  • The Town of Herndon will not provide trash collection on Jan. 1. Trash that is normally collected on Friday will be picked up Thursday, Dec. 31.

Public Transit:

  • Connector buses will operate on a Sunday service plan on Jan. 1. Check here for operating routes.
  • Fairfax CUE service will not be provided on Jan. 1.
  • WMATA Metrorail service will open at 5 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. through Dec. 31. Service will open at 8 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. while operating on a holiday schedule with Sunday service intervals on Jan. 1.
  • WMATA Metrobus will operate on a regular schedule on Dec. 31 and will go to a Sunday schedule for Jan. 1.
  • Metro’s customer information call center will be closed. Automated information is available by calling 202-637-7000 or online at wmata.com
  • WMATA’s regular fares and parking fees will be in effect on Dec. 31. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, while parking will be free at all Metro-operated facilities on Jan. 1.

County Trash and Recycling:

  • There will be no change in the county’s trash and recycling collection on Jan. 1. To ensure all trash and recycling is collected, the county urges for all materials to be placed at the curb or street line by 6 a.m.
  • County Public Works and Environmental Services administrative offices will closed on Jan. 1 and reopen on Jan. 4.
  • The recycling and disposal centers at the I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex will be closed at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31 and all day on Jan. 1.

Photo by Elisha Terada/Unsplash

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Young readers now have virtual access to the Fairfax County Public Library through a new program created in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools.

LEAP, or Library Equity Access Pass, started on Oct. 1. The program was initially piloted in 2019 and was created to ensure student access to library materials, even without a library card or an account with the library, according to the program website.

Now, the program has been adapted to a virtual platform, making access even easier in the midst of the pandemic.

Through LEAP, students grades PreK-12 only need their name to check out materials. Additionally, the program will never charge fines or fees. Each account will allow students to check out up to three items at a time for six weeks each.

The program has been running for about three weeks and has already served students at each of the county’s branches. While the program hasn’t run long enough to collect specific usage data, LEAP customers and staff have reported questions about the program from across the community.

“Word is spreading, our marketing efforts are reaching people, and the community seems enthusiastic about LEAP,” said Ted Kavich, the administrative services division director of the FCPL.

In particular, on Oct. 20, the staff at Reston Regional Library worked with staff from Dogwood Elementary School to check out books to local families using the LEAP accounts, according to Kavich. According to the school, more than 15 families were provided with books.

For more information, students and parents can ask a teacher or librarian at their school, or call any FCPL location.

Photo via Dogwood Elementary School/Twitter

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A controversy at the library level led to a heated exchanged at Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday) as the Board’s lone Republican pushed back against a motion to ensure the various boards and commissions consider the county’s standards of diversity.

Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay started the meeting with a motion for staff to circulate the One Fairfax policy and training to all boards and commissions and that members sign acknowledgement to confirm they have received and reviewed the policy. The One Fairfax policy adopted in 2017 creates a standard of social and racial equity that the Board of Supervisors committed to considering when making decisions or developing programs and services.

The fight centered around what Supervisor Pat Herrity lambasted as an attack on Phillip Rosenthal, a Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees member who faces calls for resignation from Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and others.

At a July 29 meeting, Rosenthal decried highlighting material about Black Lives Matter and by Muslim authors, Patch first reported.

Backlash to Rosenthal’s comments was swift, but Herrity has vocally defended Rosenthal, who he appointed to the Library Board of Trustees in 2018. At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Herrity defended Rosenthal again and said the motion was a move towards silencing dissent.

“When we try to silence the other side we enter a slippery slope,” Herrity said. “To take someone out because they don’t agree with our political agenda… I think that’s a slippery slope.”

While McKay protested that the board matter wasn’t about an individual person, the text of the item did say “comments made at a recent Library Board of Trustees meeting highlight that we still have a long was to go before we truly become One Fairfax.”

“Things appointee said were hurtful,” McKay said. “I called for his resignation for a lot of reasons.”

Herrity found little support from the other members of the Board of Supervisors, receiving particular rebuke from Dranesville Supervisor John Foust.

“[Herrity] totally misstakes and mischaracterizes the statements Mr. Rosenthal has made,” Foust said. “Everything I hear about Rosenthal is that he’s a decent man who makes many contributions to our community, but his comments at the library board need to be read to understand why so many people were so hurt and why we’re being so misled by Supervisor’s Herrity comments about this.”

Foust ran through a list of Rosenthal’s controversial statements at the library board, which included calling Black Lives Matter activists Marxists and expressing frustration about a reading program aimed at supporting LGBTQ youth.

“To characterize them as Herrity does about the statement for the need for more diverse views in the catalog of books is ridiculous, outrageous, and totally misleading,” Foust said.

Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence district, argued that while Herrity had appointed Rosenthal, what Rosenthal said and did reflects on the Board of Supervisors as a whole.

McKay’s motion was passed, with only Herrity voting against it.

Image via Fairfax County

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A Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees member has resigned amid a brewing controversy over comments made by another trustee over the inclusion of diverse titles in the library’s catalog.

Darren Ewing resigned from his position after he stated the library’s catalog homepage was “completely one-sided” at a recent discussion among trustees. In an email obtained by PatchEwing clarified that he did not intend to support the comments of Phillip Rosenthal, who is under fire for questioning why Muslim, Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ titles are featured in the catalog.

Here’s more from Patch on Rosenthal’s comments at the July 29 board meeting:

For example, he questioned why Muslim writers were featured but not Catholic, Mormon, Jewish or Baptist writers.

He also took aim at writers involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. On a similar category titled Race in America, Rosenthal said, “Black lives documentaries. Why don’t we have some white lives documentaries?”

And for the category labeled rainbow reads for teens, he said, “Why don’t we have the flipped side of rainbow books for teens?”

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay is joining the NOVA Equity Agenda Coalition’s calls for Rosenthal’s resignation.

“Ultimately, while under the guide of inclusivity, the demand from Mr. Rosenthal serves as a form of division, perpetuating an “us versus them” mentality. It is important now more than ever that we uplift the voices of underprivileged and underrepresented persons in our society,” McKay wrote in an Aug. 26 letter.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity recommended Rosenthal as a trustee in 2018. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved his post.

Fran Millhouser, the chair of the Board of Trustees, has also publicly stated that comments made by Rosenthal and Ewing “do not reflect the collective policies or positions of the full board or of Fairfax County.”

We will not remove materials because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” she added.

The Board of Trustees is expected to discuss the issue at a Sept. 9 meeting at 7 p.m.

Photo via Jessica Ruscello/Unsplash

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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 pickup holds.

But even as the state enters into 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.

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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.

File photo

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