Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Decisions, Meeting 2

If you missed the Great Decisions Meeting in January, don't think you're off the hook!  Each meeting is a stand-alone experience, and the topic is different.  This month, Great Decisions will meet at 2pm on February 8. The topic will be National Security.

This program is a discussion roundtable. It is a civil environment in which people can talk about issues that affect us personally, professionally, and as a country.

To join us, please click here to register, or stop by the information desk, or call the library main number, 703-689-2700.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mystery & Adventure Valentines

The Mystery & Adventure Sale will start at Reston Regional Library in the new book section soon!

Stop by to pick up books from your favorite authors and discover new ones. At these prices, you can be adventurous yourself and stretch your reading habits!

And this is the PERFECT place to get a Valentine for your sweet baboo.  Why? Because you'll save so much money that you'll still be able to take him or her out for a treat together.

Don't miss it!

February 10-14
regular library hours
New Book Section

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do The Math

For the last several years, people in the Fairfax County Public Library System have been coping with the realities of the harsh budget climate. Even though the library's budget was miniscule compared to most other agencies, it still took a disproportionate hit in the budget battles.

But FCPL has always had an ace up its sleeve in the Friends groups.  Each library branch has one, some more active than others, but all dedicated to making their branch a better place for patrons and staff alike. Some, like George Mason, have raised tons of money over the years and used it to underwrite the Summer Reading Program. Others, like Reston Regional, have been raising money steadily, just waiting for the perfect signature project in which to invest.

Enter the electronic book craze. Suddenly, everyone has some kind of e-reader. And everyone wants books for their e-readers. And FCPL has way more demand than supply. Why?

  • E-books are expensive. If you are the publisher, and you know that the library will not be back for replacement copies (e-books do not wear out), aren't you going to charge as much as you can up front?
  • Everybody and their mother got an e-reader for Holiday gifts. The Overdrive server that provides e-books from FCPL to patrons went down as all of those new users tried to get in on the new craze.

Realistically, we must accept that e-books are the wave of the future. That means fewer physical books will be published, purchased, and donated. That means book sale revenues will drop. Most of the branches have already seen a drop in donation quantity and quality.

What does that mean for us as a community? It means that we at FCPL must focus on this question:

What is it that libraries do for a community that no other agency does?

And the follow on is that having answered that question,
we must dedicate ourselves to doing it excellently.

What are some of the functions libraries currently provide?
1.  Meeting places for ESOL, Tutoring, Hanging Out, Community Activities
2.  Programming for all ages
3.  Reference services
4.  Educating People
5.  Computer Access
6.  Circulating materials that may be borrowed by community members

Only one of those is unique to libraries. Community Centers, Recreation Centers, Google, Schools and the ease of access to electronic media have created overlap in the others.

So, if your library branch disappeared tomorrow, what would you miss? 

Me, I'm a Luddite when it comes to books. I like physical books in my hand. Yes, I have an e-reader, but I would only use it in desperation.  When I travel, I take 4-5 paperback books that I've purchased from the used book sale for .50 each, and then leave them wherever I finish them.

However, my children's generation and their children will not have the pleasure of that in terms of quantity and quality and choice. And eventually they won't care, because their experience will have been with e-books. Can you imagine a Children's Program using e-books at the library? As the librarian pages through Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle, each of the toddlers will have their own e-reader and will page through with her -- and some will touch the icon that takes them to a page that tells them more about the author, or the media used, or brown bears...

Where do you think the Friends groups should be putting the money raised from book sales?

Talk to us. 
 E-mail or call at 703-829-5467

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Once again, our head squirrel in charge of winnowing the crop has decreed an Odd Lots sale must occur. While we make more shelf room, you get to pick up great bargains.

If any of these interest you, you must have a current Friends of Reston Library membership to purchase. If you don't have one, they're easy to get. Just click on the sidebar where it says "JOIN".

To let us know that you're interested, E-MAIL US, or call us at 703-829-5467.


SETS that look great on the bookshelf.....

a)        $25    /    Encyclopedia Britannica (1987 ed)
                         padded black bindings
                         33+ volumes complete
b)        $20    /    World Book Encyclopedia (1988 ed)
                         decorate gilt maroon bindings, top edges gilt
                         28 volumes complete, incl 6 matching annuals


MAGAZINES to savor, to inspire  .....
c)        $15    /    lot of 15 issues of fantasy/sci-fi magazines
                         (spanning 1999-2000)
                         9 issues of Asimov's Science Fiction
                         4 issues of Fantasy & Science Fiction
                         2 issues of Analog


d)        $3    /    for winter daydreaming!     
                       lot of 6 large glossy magazine issues (spanning Sep 09 - Feb 2010)
                       Power & Motor Yacht, Showboats International, etc


e)        $4    /    get cooking with Cook's Illustrated magazine
                        lot of 8 issues (spanning 2006-2008)


f)        $8    /    weave up something beautfiul with Handwoven magazine                      lot of 25 issues (spanning 2002-2008)


g)        $3    /    armchair visit to France!
                       lot of 9 magazine issues (spanning 2006-2010)
                       France:  The Best of Culture, Travel & Art de Vivre                       in English


h)        $4    /    lot of 12 recent issues (Jan, Feb 2011)
                       various gun-related titles                       including Gun World, Shooting Illustrated, Gun Digest
                       [must be 18 years or older]

i)        $7    /    lot of 21 issues (spanning 1999-2008)
                      mix includes Model Aviation, R/C Modeler Magazine, Model Airplane News
JOURNALS on specialty subjects......
 j)        Wilson Quarterly
           "surveying the world of ideas" / non-partisan, non-ideological
           published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
           (which is part of the Smithsonian)
           take a break from the Uncle John's Bathroom reader.... !
           articles on history, sociology, politics, culture, you name it!
           spanning the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's
           $16    for lot of roughly 75 issues

k)        US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters          (spanning 2001, 2005-2010)
          $15    for lot of 18 issues


Friday, January 14, 2011

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

A Friends of the Library Mystery

“Anthony,” began Celia, “please don’t do this. Everything you’ve studied about medicine tells you that these words you are saying are a lie. You know, deep in your heart, that underneath the skin, we are all made of the same blood, bone and sinews.”
As she spoke Celia stepped in front of László and Emajean, trying to form a protective shield. One of the men stepped up and grabbed her by the arm and flung her to the ground. He raised his club to strike László , who had knelt to help Celia back up. Celia saw the club descending towards László ’s unprotected temple, pushed up from the ground and over to the man, ramming into him with all her might. As László fell back on his heels, Celia’s head moved into the downward path of the club. It landed with all of the man’s force upon her occipital bone, crushing it inward, driving the pieces into her brain.
“Celia!” screamed Emajean and dropped to the ground, trying to revive her friend. The two men with clubs took off running out of the quad. László examined Celia and then pulled Emajean into his arms. “It’s no use,” he whispered. “She’s gone.”
Suddenly Anthony Harper was on the ground with them, cradling the lifeless body in his arms. “You were right, Celia. I didn’t listen. But you were right.” Tears ran down his face as he raised it to László and Emajean. “You need to call the police. I am responsible for this.”
László shook his head. “No, Dr. Harper. I have never agreed with you regarding your politics and your views on the races, but I have always admired your skill as a doctor. If you take responsibility for this, you will never practice medicine. It is better for you to use your skill to do good, to promote life. Otherwise, Celia’s death is in vain.”
Anthony Harper looked at Emajean. “Do you agree to cover this up? To give me a chance?” he whispered.
She nodded affirmatively, and then buried her head in László’s shoulder and sobbed. László held her for a moment and then said, “We must agree what has happened here. Two ruffians from town approached us trying to take our money. When Anthony and I tried to defend the ladies, one pulled out a club, but in trying to hit me, hit Celia instead. We are doctors. No one will question this story.
Now go call the authorities, Anthony. Save your outrage at yourself and pour it into your story so it will be convincing!”
Anthony ran towards the Administration building yelling, “Help! Please! Someone, help!”

Celia’s senses returned slowly. A low hum of machinery and that antiseptic smell of hospitals was distressingly familiar. As she peered in the low lighting at the monitors and listened to the buzzes and beeps, she became aware that she although she was again in a hospital setting, it was at least a 21st century hospital setting. She began to hope that she was back in her own time.
The door to the room opened and her dear Rob came in. When he saw her eyes open he hurried to her side. “Celia?” he asked. “Are you back with us?”
Celia’s eyes filled with tears as she smiled and whispered, “I’m here. What happened?”
Rob answered, “The elevator at the library didn’t stop properly at the doorway so when you stepped out you fell. You hit your head and passed out. They brought you here by ambulance and we’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
Celia asked, “How long have I been out?”
He smiled, “about three hours, but boy am I relieved to see you awake again. You had us worried! I’ll go find the doctor so we can talk about taking you home.”
Celia relaxed and began to smile. She was back! She wasn't stuck in 1933 anymore!

Celia was restless. She had been home from the hospital for three days, and had been unable to concentrate. The dream, if that was what it had been, had been so vivid, so lifelike. She had known Emajean and cared about her and László. She felt bereft of that relationship she and the girl from the 1930’s had shared.
After the kids had gone to school and Rob had gone to work, she sat down in her home office comfy chair.
“Emajean,” she said to herself as she lifted the 1933 Loyolan from her bag. Turning to the page with the graduation photo of the young woman, she teared up. “My friend,” she whispered, tracing the photo with her finger. She held the book by its covers and shook it, pages down, to see if there were any more secrets for it to yield. For the first time since the Annual had come into her possession, there were no photos falling out.
She thumbed through the photos that had fallen out before. This time, each one of them had names on them. There were photos of Emajean with some of the other nurses Celia had met. The young man was indeed Walter as the young girl was Frances. When Celia turned the baby's photo over it said "Celia."
Celia turned on the computer and called up her file on Emjean. Rob had been sweet enough to give her a year’s subscription to Ancestry so she wouldn’t have to go back to the library with the broken elevator. She smiled as she logged in, and went to the tree she had started for Emajean.
Suddenly she sat up straight. Something was wrong. After 1930 the file was empty. Emajean Murphy was gone! There were no City Directories and no further entries.
With butterflies in her stomach she tried searching “Emajean Timar” and there, in the Chicago city records for 1935, she saw entries that said:

Husband: Laszlo Timar: Birthplace: Hungary; Occupation: Physician
Wife: Emajean Timar: Birthplace: Michigan; Occupation: Housewife
Mother: Anna Timar; Birthplace: Hungary
Child: Celia Timar; Birthplace: Illinois, 1934

And when Celia saw who was living next door, she laughed out loud.
Husband: Teodor Timar: Birthplace: Hungary; Occupation: Salesman
Wife: Hulda Timar: Birthplace: Hungary; Occupation: Nurse


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

A Friends of the Library Mystery

Chapter XIV
            The two women arrived in New York in 1933 by way of Bremen, Germany after a long ocean trip. Teodor was at the dock to meet them, and shepherded them to the train station where they would begin the long train ride to Chicago.  During the trip Teodor was excruciatingly correct with both women as he audaciously pursued every unaccompanied woman under the age of 30 on the train. By the time they reached Chicago, Hulda and Anna were both convinced that he was a playboy and would not be suitable for Hulda at all.
            To all of Anna’s questions about László’s romantic life Teodor was noncommittal. He did not want to deal with the emotion that he feared would ensue if Anna knew that her son was in love with an Irish girl. He spoke instead about the World’s Fair Expo that was going on in Chicago that year. He promised to take them to see the sights once they were settled in the city. The trip was only a week long, but by the time they reached the outskirts of Chicago Teodor felt that he’d done penance enough for not wanting to marry Hulda.
            When the morning finally dawned that would finish their journey, Anna anxiously peered out of the windows, searching for her son. Suddenly she saw him and tears filled her eyes. “I must get out!” she said to Teodor.
“In a minute, Anna!” he exclaimed.
“No! I must get out right now! That is my son I must see!”
The porter came by and offered assistance. “Mister, I think you’d better give in to her. Looks like she’ll go right through that window!”
Teodor turned to look at Anna. She had suddenly stopped her frantic noise and was standing with her hands over her mouth and her eyes wide. Teodor leaned over to see what had caught her attention. He saw László there, and on his arm was a pretty Irish girl.
Teodor turned his head and spoke quietly and urgently to his sister-in-law. “Anna,” he said, “in America, boys and girls often marry people not from their own home country. They call this country the melting pot. If you do not act happy to see her, you will hurt your son and you will start your new life in America off on the very wrong foot.”
Anna narrowed her eyes at him, squared her shoulders, summoned her dignity, and said tightly, “Teodor! If my László thinks that he is going to marry an Irish girl, he is not the smartest of the Tímár men as we have always thought. It appears that I arrived here just in time.” Barely looking to the side Anna directed Hulda to join her, and they went to the door to exit the train.
Celia returned to dormitory that evening to find Emajean sobbing on her bed.
“Emajean,” she said softly. “What on earth is the matter?”
“László and I cannot marry. His mother hates me because I’m not Hungarian. Oh Celia, I can’t make him choose between his mother and me. It would be wrong,” Emajean choked out.
“Whoa, back up there. What happened?” Celia asked.
“His mother got off the train, approached him, and received his kiss. He said something to her in Hungarian, and gestured to me as if he was introducing me. She said something back, turned around, and went back toward the train. I’m not stupid. She was telling him that she was going back to Hungary.
He followed her, pleading with her, I guess. I left the platform and went into the station to wait. Teodor came to find me and asked me to meet László later this evening at our usual place. I think it is so he can say good-bye,” Emajean finished. “Will you go with me?”
Celia nodded, almost in tears herself. This wasn’t the way things were supposed to work out. All great stories ended up happily ever after. But remembering the census record, Celia had a feeling that what Emajean feared was about to come true.
They left the dormitory a little while later, with a soft evening breeze accompanying them while they walked to the willow tree. Emajean slowed as they neared the place. As on the previous evening, László was waiting in the long, flowing limbs of the tree.
            “Emajean,” he called softly. The caress of his voice on the syllables of her name made her catch her breath. He held out his arms.
“László!” she exclaimed, “do you still want to marry me?”
He buried his head in the softness of her freshly washed hair and inhaled deeply. “Yes,” he said roughly. “My mother just needs some time.”
Emajean almost sobbed in relief. Their lips met and they kissed deeply. She stepped back to look into his eyes to see her joy reflected there.
Her elation was momentary though. Out of the darkness they heard a voice call to them, “Are you really so stupid? Do you really think we would allow a dirty Hungarian to marry one of our girls?”
They all recognized the voice of Anthony Harper as he stepped into the light with two other men. Those men held clubs in their hands and were tapping them menacingly.

And next week, the finale.  I promise!