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Last November the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to cancel the Beta Plan for the county library system; however, Library Operations has continued to pursue the Beta Plan. At the Library Board of Trustees meeting July 9, 2014, Michael Cutrone, the Hunter Mill Representative to the Library Board, requested that current procedures for discarding low demand items be changed. Low demand items are books that have not been checked out for 24 months. Low demand books are now transferred to Technical Operations, and large numbers in very good condition are being discarded. Michael Cutrone asked that until a new policy can be instituted that the discard of low demand books be stopped. The Director of Library Operations stated that it was his decision to make and he was opposed to changing current procedures.

Many neighboring library systems keep their books on the shelves for five years before they are considered for weeding. Even then, I am told by librarians in other library systems, they are very reluctant to let go of nonfiction works. Nonfiction is the heart of any library’s collection. Our children need nonfiction for their school papers. Information from the internet is often incorrect and incomplete.

We have lost thousands of nonfiction books in good condition since February 2014. specially vulnerable are large art books which are often only used in the library and not checked out because of their size and weight. Since the Library Board is reluctant to direct operational procedures is there anything library patrons can do to protect the collection and culturally significant books?

Yes, there is. Patrons can check out books. Once books are checked out, they are protected for two years. Two years from now we will have a new Library Director and hopefully the new one will value the library as a place of learning and literacy. You can check out 50 books. Check out art, poetry, philosophy, science, history, biography, ethnic cookbooks. And don’t forget the children’s nonfiction. It’s the only way we have now to protect our collection. Think of it as a civic and patriotic duty.

Help save our books.

Kathy Kaplan, Reston