Mr. Chairman and members of the Arlington County Board. My name is Michael Gessel. I represent Citizens for Cherrydale Library, a group mostly of residents from the Cherrydale, Maywood, and Donaldson Run neighborhoods who support the Cherrydale Branch Library.
We appreciate the responsible stewardship of the County Board and understand that difficult choices need to be made in times of fiscal austerity. For that reason, we are grateful that the Board made no further cuts in the hours of Cherrydale Branch Library last year.
However, as the board deliberates on changes to the proposed budget, we hope that you will consider restoring the hours of operation that were trimmed at Central and the branch libraries as part of the fiscal year 2010 and 2011 budgets.
We aren’t asking for special treatment for Cherrydale or any of the branch libraries. Rather, we support a vibrant library system with convenient hours for all Arlington residents, whether they use Central or any of the branches.
Education is a core function of Arlington County government. The public library system is part of that function.
As the Department of Library’s fiscal year 2012 proposed budget notes, “Reductions to personnel funding and library hours over the past two fiscal years have led to a decrease in most areas of performance measures including programming, materials borrowed, and patron visits.”
We believe that restoring library hours will improve a critical county government service.
For nearly 90 years, Cherrydale has been served by a public library. That’s a testament to the value of this service. In fact, the current library building is 50 years old—and we’ll be celebrating the anniversary with a brief ceremony on July 9. I hope that you will be able to attend.