Thursday, October 29, 2009


Today I was talking to some friends about what the various Friends of the Library groups do for the system. One of the comments made me think about how the general public thinks that everyone they see at the library is paid staff and everything at the library is paid for with tax dollars. Today I am starting a series on how wrong that idea is.

Let me start first with my favorite euphemism: co-sponsored. In the monthly calendar published by FCPL, there are descriptions of programs to sign up for. The editors use co-sponsored by; I prefer the clear phrase paid for by.

First up for George Mason Regional Library is Personalized Internet Tutoring. Who provides this service? A volunteer.

Second up, English Conversation Group. Who leads the group? A volunteer.

Third up, Yoga for Seniors. Shakta Khalsa leads this program. FCPL signed a contract with her and provides a room. In this case, co-sponsored by the Friends of the George Mason Regional Library means paid by the Friends.

Next up, Please and Thank You, stories for 2-3 year olds. This program is presented by a paid staff member.

The list of programs goes on. When you get to Golden Oldies, a movie, you might think no cost. Wrong. To show a movie in a public place, a movie license must be purchased. Who pays? It's the Friends of the George Mason Regional Libary, who also pay for the refreshments.

Come to the library. Great things are happening there. Don't always assume that tax dollars are paying for it all.

Today's secret: sometimes people register for programs and then don't attend. Check with the staff about whether or not they will let in people to replace the no-shows.

1 comment:

  1. My only fear is that when the Friends Groups graciously cover the cost of these programs, and FCPL is not explicit about it, the general public assumes that their tax dollars are going to programs that they personally see as not applicable to them. So...when they think about where to cut, they recommend programs that the libraries aren't really even paying for themselves - the Friends groups are. And the libraries aren't paying for them because they can't afford it - because their budgets have already been slashed!

    We're with you on this one GM Friends! See our blog today . . .