Friday, November 20, 2009

Ad Astra Per Aspera

As a child growing up in Kansas the blogger memorized all types of things about our state, including its motto, Ad Astra Per Aspera. It means "to the stars through difficulties." When Seneca the Younger first spoke this, it captured the imagination of many.

When we have difficulties, like extreme budget cuts, while we must look inward to make sure we are as efficient as possible, we must then shift our gaze outward to ensure we have a path to the future charted. The budget cuts the County is asking the library to make hurt. A LOT. The libraries have already had to look inward and make very difficult cuts including hours and personnel. But the County is asking for more and more and more. And while the library community understands that everyone must do a little more with a little less, we believe that the cuts to the library are disproportionate.

The blogger has kids in public school right now and so hears the plaint from both entities. Sure, the public schools are feeling cuts as well and many VOCAL parents want their particular program preserved at all costs. But the fact of the matter is that what has been done to the library is not equitable in any way. The library took deep cuts in FY 2010 and is slated to take even deeper ones in FY 2011. This is in contrast to the FCPS (over 50% of the County Budget) and other agencies that didn't even take cuts in FY 2010.

And that's before you consider that in times of tight funds, library usage goes UP, not down. So if the County cuts hours and cuts staff, they're asking more patrons to stand in line longer to get fewer services. The Friends groups raise a LOT of money - this is true. But we cannot legally fund staff positions or underwrite operating costs to keep a library open. Many Friends groups, by their own governing documents, are also barred from purchasing materials like books. This makes sense if you figure that once the Friends start paying for books the County will spend the money saved elsewhere and there will be no going back.

The ONLY way to get the attention of the County Officials who will make the cuts is to be HEARD. There's one more community meeting planned for Dec 2 (Herndon HS, Hayfield HS, Lake Braddock HS, 7-9pm). But there's also a petition you can go sign urging the County to Restore FCPL's Budget. Go check it out:

And now, to the stars:

Road of Stars to Santiago by Edward Stanton
A book of impressions about the author's journey on El Camino de Santiago. Uniformly good reviews. This copy is like New at $24.50

Corona: America's First Satellite Program
This paperback describes the nation's first satellite reconnaissance mission. The information was declassified in 1995 and provides a look into a time of great technological innovation which laid the basis for the type of satellite imagery we think of as 'standard' today. $12.75

These two books, and many others, are available at RestonFriends1, our Amazon storefront. If you're a local, current Friend, and you are interested in any of these books, e-mail us, and we'll save you the postage.


1 comment :

Air said...

I linked to your article in my TG post on my blog ( Have been telling others to support the libraries as well.