We are counting down to the final meetings regarding the 2011 budget in Fairfax County. I know that when my kids were still in public school, that I heard much from the school system, the PTAs, and fellow parents regarding the needs of the school system. It is only since I became involved with the library system that I have begun to learn about the libraries.
It is easy to take things for granted. I never paid attention to the fine print when I took my kids to programs at the Library. I took it for granted that a library near me would have a weekly story hour. I took it for granted that most common magazines would be available at the local library. I took the library hours for granted.
I have learned not to take so much for granted. If the staff is cut back so that management has to choose between staffing the information desk and providing a story hour, the story hour will lose. The magazine subscriptions are running out. Start looking for big holes in the displays.
When my kids were in school, we made a lot of trips to the library on Sunday pulling together a project due on Monday morning. Years ago, I could go to the library on Sunday any time up until 8 pm. Those hours got cut back to 6pm in the previous recession and were never restored. In this recession, two more hours were cut so Sunday hours are now 1 to 5 pm. Are all Sunday hours the next to go?
We made our fair share of dashes to the library on weekday evenings as well. We might have supper, then scouts, then the library, then home. Now, the library is closed before I have supper except for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Those weeknights, the library closes at 8 pm. Judging from the volume of books to be checked in early on Friday, a lot of people are surprised to find the library closed on Thursday evenings.
Next July, what changes are we going to see at the library?
If you haven't gone to a budget meeting, then visit the Fairfax County website. Read about it. There is still time to attend a meeting.