Reston, 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 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.

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As people self-isolate and social distance, there are activities happening digitally to help fight the boredom and redundancy.

Fairfax County Libraries announced closures through March 29, but people who normally visit local libraries can check out free online resources including audiobooks and e-books.

Anyone with a library card can log into a system called Overdrive, which allows people to choose from a wide range of works from all genres.

Though some titles have limited availability and a waitlist, the system offers a list of popular titles available now.

The Brews and Books event at Lake Anne Brew House will take place online this week from 7 -8:30 p.m. on Saturday (March 21), according to the Facebook page. This week people will be talking about “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity” the page said.

People can log onto Zoom to attend the event. The meeting “ID”  is 332 501 624 and the “password” is 649440.

Lake Anne Brew House also announced it will be able to deliver pretzels, food and beer to anyone who is interested.

Fans of musical theatre can stream broadway musicals online using Broadway HD, which lets people stream certain productions in the comfort of their own home. The company is offering a free 7-day trial but costs around $9 each month after that.

Photo via Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

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Monday Morning Notes

School Buildings Closed — All Fairfax County Public School buildings are closed until further notice. Beginning today (Monday), grab-and-go food distribution sites will be set up at 18 locations. Breakfast is served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m.t o 2 p.m.[Fairfax County Public Schools]

Local Parks, Libraries Closed — The Fairfax County Public Library System and local parks will be closed for due weeks to the novel coronavirus threat. [Patch]

Telecom Entrepreneur Dies — John McDonnell Jr., who started Recon-Based Transaction Network Services, died in March at a hospital in Florida. He was 82. [The Washington Post]

Boston Properties Sell Properties — The company has sold its New Dominion Park property, including 499 Grove St., in Herndon to an affiliate of USAA Real Estate. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo by Cbreezy

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Monday Morning Notes

In-person Absentee Voting Underway — This past weekend, in-person absentee voting opened at 13 locations in the county. Locally, the Herndon Fortnightly Library will be open Mondays through Fridays from 3-7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Library Coalition Proposes County Plan — “The Coalition to Expand Library Access formally launched its “It’s About Time” campaign with an information meeting for community groups on Feb. 6 at the George Mason Regional Library in Annandale.” [Fairfax County Times]

County Police Mourns Passing of K9 — The Fairfax County Police Department is remembering K9 Doby, the department’s “four-legged brother” who died unexpectedly while responding to an armed robbery. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Most Fairfax County offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

Fairfax County libraries will be closed both days. Courts close at noon tomorrow (Wednesday) and will remain closed on Thursday and Friday.

All Reston Association offices, including the Nature House and Central Services Facility, will be closed. Offices close at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

The Fairfax Connector operates on a Sunday schedule on Thursday. Routes without Sunday service will not operate. The next day, commuters can expect a modified holiday weekend schedule.

Reston Community Center Lake Anne is closed both days, while the location at Hunters Woods is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday.

Residents who receive trash and recycling collection from the county will have regular collection services both days. Residents with collection services from a private company should contact the service provider for the modified holiday schedule.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

New Library Catalog Goes Live Today — The new library catalog will be available today (Wednesday) and will include major upgrades. Access to digital content from OverDrive and RBdigital will continue to be available during the transition. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Company Among Fastest Growing Company List — Brillient, a Reston-based company, ranked #459 on Deloitte’s 2019 ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in the country. Other Fairfax County companies were also represented on the list. [Deloitte]

Metro Moves to Sell Naming Rights — “Metro could soon sell the naming rights to stations, offices or entire lines as part of an effort to make more money as bus ridership falls and rail ridership only slowly starts to bounce back. General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told reporters last week he supports naming rights deals, as do at least a few members of the Metro Board.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Museum Searches for Final Townhome in Reston — The organization is looking for a Reston townhouse to feature in its annual Reston Home Tour. This year’s event is set for Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Reston Museum]

Adult Summer Reading Program Kicks Off This Week — The Fairfax County Public Library system is launching its first system-wide adult summer reading programs for readers age 18 and up. Participants can pick up reading logs from any county library and read or listen to four books. Incentives will be offered for completing up to two logs. [Fairfax County Government]

Artemis House Needs Old Cell Phones — Artemis House is looking for old cellphones and cellphone chargers that can be used temporarily by its residents. The organization offers emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence. Phones must be unlocked and data should be removed prior to donation. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via Milepost 14/Flickr

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Several government facilities around Fairfax County are closed today (Jan. 18) for Lee-Jackson Day and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this coming Monday (Jan. 21).

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s courts are closed today and Monday.

Fairfax County’s government offices and libraries will be closed on MLK Day.

The county’s public schools will get off three hours early today and be closed on MLK Day.

The Fairfax Connector will run on a holiday weekday schedule MLK Day. A full list of routes running in the Reston area is available online.

Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open on MLK Day, while Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to its schedule on MLK Day.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including Central Facilities and the Nature House, will be closed on MLK Day.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed on MLK Day.

The Community Center will have altered hours from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on MLK Day.

Metro, DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will are closed today and Monday.

Metro will operate on a Saturday schedule, opening at 5 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. on MLK Day. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all Metro-operated facilities. Meanwhile, Metrobus will run on a Saturday supplemental schedule with some late-night trips canceled on selected routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break on MLK Day.

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As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, Fairfax County Public Schools is offering resources to furloughed government workers after most missed their first paycheck of the shutdown last Friday (Jan. 11).

FCPS plans to hold a second hiring event for furloughed federal employees interested in substitute teaching positions.

The hiring event last week hit capacity. The event is set for tomorrow (Jan. 15) from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center at 8115 Gatehouse Road in Falls Church, Va. Participants are encouraged beforehand to register, complete an application for employment and bring original documents required for the I-9 form I-9.

FCPS’s “No Student Will Go Hungry” program is supporting families affected by the federal government shutdown by providing breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of their ability to pay or temporary financial circumstances. FCPS will also allow unpaid balances to accrue during the shutdown.

Furloughed workers can also look at Fairfax County’s resources online, including a Human Services Guide to seek assistance from nonprofits and a list of free or low-cost events at county libraries and parks.

The county also plans to have a “Stuff the Bus” event on Saturday (Jan. 19) where locals can bring food and cash donations to support local nonprofit food pantries. One of the collection spots will be the Fox Mill Giant (2551 John Milton Drive) in Herndon from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Food, utility and rent assistance is available from the county’s Health and Human Services agencies.

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In case you were planning to visit these government facilities around Fairfax County during the holiday season, check to see whether or not they will be closed on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), Christmas (Dec. 25), New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) and Jan. 1.

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s government offices, libraries and courts will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas and Jan. 1.

The county’s public schools will be on winter break from Monday, Dec. 24, until Friday, Jan. 4.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a holiday weekday schedule for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. A full list of routes running in the Reston area is available online. The next day, the bus will operate on a Sunday schedule for Christmas and Jan. 1.

Frying Pan Farm Park and Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

County trash and recycling collection will not happen on Christmas. The updated collection schedule for next week is:

  • Tuesday customers will have collection on Wednesday (Dec. 26)
  • Wednesday customers will have collection on Thursday (Dec. 27)
  • Thursday customers will have collection on Friday (Dec. 28)
  • Friday customers will have collection on Saturday (Dec. 29)

Reston

The Reston Association offices will be closed for Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

Nature House will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Reston Community Center Lake Anne will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods will be closed on Christmas. It will have modified hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and from noon to 5 p.m. on Jan. 1.

The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will be closed on Christmas. It will have modified hours from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas and Jan. 1.

Refuse will be collected on Christmas Eve, but refuse normally collected on Tuesdays will be collected on Thursday (Dec. 27) and New Year’s Eve.

The Herndon Community Center will be closed on Christmas and Jan. 1.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will only be closed for Christmas.

Metro, DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

The Metro and Metrobus will be running a Sunday schedule on Christmas and Jan. 1, operating from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Metro will provide special late-night rail service on New Year’s Eve with trains running until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on breaks for Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Biden To Be in Reston on Saturday — The former Vice President will host a roundtable discussion on workforce development Saturday in Reston along with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam. The event, to be held at Reston Town Center co-working space Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive), will highlight Northam’s jobs plan. [NBC Washington]

Police Help Young Drivers — Officers help teenage drivers learn how to handle themselves on the roadway and what to do in certain situations during the “Youthful Driver Program” every Saturday at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Vienna, Herndon Among Top 5 Virginia Towns in Survey — A website for business professionals ranked incorporated cities and towns in Virginia based on factors including poverty level, unemployment rate and median household income. It names Vienna the “Most Successful” in the state, with Herndon coming in at No. 5. [Zippia]

County’s Fall Book Festival Kicks Off — The county’s library system is offering residents the opportunity to meet numerous authors today through Saturday as part of the “Fall for the Book” festival. [Fairfax County Public Library]

Community Center To Host Cabaret Singer — Beverly Cosham will perform Thursday afternoon at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). [Reston Community Center]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Hot Again Today — Once again, Fairfax County emergency officials want to make sure residents are aware of the dangers of excessive heat. Temperatures are expected to again reach the 90s today, with a heat index topping 100. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Safety, Health More Urged for School Year — School starts next week, and Fairfax County officials want to make sure all the information residents need is being shared. Topics emphasized include the need to watch for stopped school buses, where to go for anxiety and stress relief, how to pack a healthy lunch and more. [Fairfax County]

‘Fake News’ Seminar Tonight — George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, along with the Fairfax County library system, is sponsoring a workshop titled “News Blues and How to Defuse.” It will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Centreville Regional Library. [WTOP]

Herndon Firm Working on Tank Protection — Herndon-based Artis is working on Iron Curtain, defense technology that would protect US Army tanks from rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. [Business Insider]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Reston Residents Among Injured in Charlottesville Attack — Two Reston women were struck by the vehicle that crashed into a crowd of protesters during the weekend’s violent clashes in Charlottesville, a friend of theirs told a DC news crew. [NBC Washington]

No More Eclipse Glasses at Library — “Due to extraordinary demand,” Fairfax County libraries are no longer able to provide glasses for next week’s solar eclipse. [Fairfax County]

Special Eclipse Event at Herndon High — There will be an “eclipse party” Monday at Herndon High School, though, where up to 1,000 pairs of the eclipse glasses will be available. Meals will also be provided at a cost of $2 for adults, free for students. [Herndon High School]

Popular Local Blog Celebrates 10 Years — Restonian has been satirically covering the comings and goings of the community since August 2007. This week, it provides a retrospective on all that’s happened in the past decade. [Restonian]

Last Day To Vote for Business Awards — The ballot for the 2017 Best Reston Business Awards went out to our email subscribers for the final time Monday afternoon, and they have until midnight tonight to fill it out. Winners will be announced Wednesday. [Reston Now]

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A new Memorandum of Understanding being proposed by the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees is being labeled by library supporters as a “money grab.”

Specifically, Fairfax Library Advocates say a call that individual library Friends’ groups can only keep a designated amount in reserve while turning the rest over to the library system for general programming is a case of the county trying to overstep its bounds.

“All of the Friends are 501(c)(3) organizations. We’re all in compliance with state and federal laws, we all publish our financial records every year,” said Dennis Hays, a board member of the Friends of the Reston Regional Library and chair of Fairfax Library Advocates. “The county has no ability to dictate how an independent group conducts its internal affairs.”

Hays said the Friends groups have always in the past had agreeable MOUs with the Board of Trustees. The proposed MOU would require all Friends groups, even the smallest, to be subject to the same licensing and auditing requirements.

“If something isn’t broke, why are you trying to fix it?” he said, adding that some Friends groups may not survive such new rules. “There has never been, to my knowledge, any issues or problems with the Friends.”

Hays said the Friends groups have not been informed by the Trustees why this change, which would only allow groups to hold in reserve three times their annual donation, is necessary. In an interview with The Annandale Blog earlier this month, Fairfax County Public Library Director Jessica Hudson said the proposed MOU is a preventive and protective measure that will also allow the system to “find good ways to spend that [surplus] money, not just have it sit there.”

Hays said that in Reston, where the Friends group has close to $1 million saved, money is being held for a rainy day that is just over the horizon.

“Part of the reason we have a big surplus at the moment is, as you know, we’re looking at a renovation of the library,” he said. “That could last, if worse come to worse, three or four years where we will have to operate off our existing funds if we want to continue to support the library.”

Funds collected by the Friends through donations and events such as their book sale go toward supporting designated projects at the library. The proposal from the Library Board of Trustees to dip into those funds, Hays said, is all about control.

“For the county to try to come in and micromanage these things doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I think they’re headed down that path, and I think it’s a destructive path. I’m hoping that they see the light and back off a little bit on all this.”

Hays has presented an alternative MOU, which he says has been “ignored.”

“What we understand is they are working on their version, which will be presumably released at some point and then we will have to deal with it,” he said. “At the end of the day, we want to work with the County. This is what we do.”

In her interview with The Annandale Blog, Hudson said the work of the Friends groups is valued.

“We would not do anything to egregiously harm the Friends groups,” she told the blog. “The Friends are wonderful people who work very hard.”

There are 23 library Friends groups across Fairfax County.

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