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Love in the library

I'm back in the land of good libraries. Yes, the hours are being reduced due to budget cuts, but you don't realize how good you have it in a big-city library system until you move to a small one.

Like here, the libraries systems in southern Alabama were organized by county. Unfortunately, I lived in the largest city in that county, and it only had 45,000 people. The whole county only had four branches. I could check the “card catalog” online, but I couldn't reserve or renew books, or check my current holdings online.

They also just couldn't compete with a big-city library when it comes to inventory of boooks, magazines, and audio books.

Don't get me wrong. For the size of the town/county, the Autauga-Prattville Public Library system was pretty good. They stocked a decent percentage of new releases, and offered lots of programs for young kids. But for a city girl like myself, it was a huge step backwards.

The beautiful library in downtown Fairfax, where I got my card today, made me want to jump for joy. It's either fairly new (or recently updated), two stories with lots of windows and places to sit, and even has self-checkout. I can manage my account online, and there was no first-timer check out limit.

Amazing what taxes can do. I'm a strong believer in supporting authors by buying their books, but I often find new favorites by trolling the library shelves. Besides, I couldn't possibly afford to buy all of the books I want to read. For that reason, I'm also a strong believer in supporting my local library.

No matter what yours is like, you can make it better by donating money or used books, and patronizing the used book sales. I'm in love with my new library. How's yours?

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  1. Reply

    Good Gwen!
    I am happy that you like your library, I know how important this must be for you…
    and it is a major part of settling in your new city.

  2. Tony


    But I liked Barnes and Noble and Books a Million there better!!! lol Spent years in Fairfax…. You see the products of my efforts there everyday!!

    And yes, strange encounters, and right there at Main and West………

    There is a nice farmer’s market there too near the courthouse on Saturday morning.

    And BTW, had real good luck using Farrish Buick/Chevrolet for maintenance and repairs.

    OMG, you have WEGMANS!!!!! I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!

    • Reply

      Of course, a bookstore is the best, especially after my birthday when I have gift cards. 😉 Thanks for all the suggestions. Apparently, I’m not the only one who moves around a lot!

      But you have to explain this: “You see the products of my efforts there everyday!!” I’m curious.

      And, yeah. Wegman’s rocks. Been there three times already. =)

  3. Tony


    Here are the Northern VA Writers group scheduled meetings for the next few months. I still get notifications but I’m back home in Texas for a bit and they do me little good..

    — In, Matt Iden wrote:
    > All –
    > June Coffee Klatch
    > Please join me this coming Sunday, June 27, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (-ish) at Stacy’s Coffee Parlor for an informal coffee klatch. No speakers or particular presentations will be held; this is just a chance to get together and chew the fat about all things writerly. Come and go as you please.
    > Regarding Don’s concerns about the noise level, I’ve been in touch with the owner and he suggested a Sunday date to avoid weekend crowds. We don’t have the place reserved, per se, so we’ll have to make do with the space that’s there, but that’s the nature of these things. I hope the choice of Sunday afternoon as well as the Falls Church location makes this a little more convenient for some of you who found the Firehook location and Saturday morning choice difficult.
    > Stacy’s Coffee Parlor
    > 709 West Broad Street
    > Falls Church, Virginia 22046
    > (703) 538-6266
    > Stacey’s is right on Broad Street in the heart of Falls Church. They have a small parking lot that can fit about 10 cars, but share it with one or two other businesses, so you may have to park around the block or car pool. Hope to see you there!
    > July Meeting
    > The July meeting is set for Saturday, July 24, from 1:00 – 3:30 at Woodrow Wilson Library. Our guest speaker will be Lynn Norusis, Managing Editor of Northern Virginia Magazine. Please join me to hear Lynn’s take on life as a magazine editor and the state of magazine publishing today. Read more about Northern Virginia Magazine at
    > August Meeting
    > I had a chance to snag the large room at the Tyson’s Pimmit Regional Library for Sunday, August 15 from 1:00 – 3:30. Please mark your calendars since this is a) earlier in the month than our normal meetings, b) at Tyson’s Pimmit, and c) on a Sunday. Speaker TBA.
    > best,
    > matt iden
    > prez, NOVAWC

  4. Reply

    I love libraries. I used to spend hours and hours at a time in my local library when I was younger. Since I hit 16 I started buying all my own books, creating my own library, so I miss them. But, I still have fond memories.

    • Reply

      I buy nonfiction/craft books that I want to keep, and I’m forming a collection of the books by a few of my most favorite authors. Otherwise, I borrow or buy used and return/trade.

      Besides, as much as we move, I try not to collect too much stuff. But I love books and libraries. Wish I could have a dedicated library with floor-to-ceiling shelves… *dream*

  5. Reply

    I hope that you really enjoy your new Virginia home Gwen. Not sure exactly where Fairfax is, though, I know where Fairfax County North Carolina is, and it’s quite a ways North of me up the coast. Anyway, I just came to see if those Retweet buttons looked to green…I think I’m addicted to retweets, and Mirellas are all tweeted.
    Have a great 4th of July, independence day celebration in your new area next week.
    God Bless

    • Reply

      Thanks, Paul. Fairfax County (and the city with the same name) is part of the D.C.-metro area in Northern Virginia. Crowded, but nice. 😉 And thanks for retweets! Have a great Independence Day too.

  6. Christine


    Centreville’s library is a huge one and great! You’ll love it!! Can’t wait to see you– best 🙂

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