We, the undersigned, oppose the County Manager's proposal to cut Cherrydale Library's operations from six days per week to three days per week. Our reasons are: --A 50-percent cut in Cherrydale Library's operation to help meet a 3.8-percent shortfall in the overall County budget is excessive and inequitable--especially in view of how little Cherrydale Library costs Arlington taxpayers. --The savings gained by reducing the operation of Cherrydale Library from six days per week to three days would average out to about 61 cents per year for every man, woman, and child in Arlington. --Reducing the hours of neighborhood libraries or closing them outright flies in the face of the national effort to promote literacy, learning, and the strengthening of our country's educational infrastructure. --Reducing Cherrydale Library's hours would undermine its ability to provide critically important services to our community--preschool programs, computer and Internet access, reference materials, the Summer Library Reading program, the book discussion program for adults, the provision of books and magazines, and, most importantly, a relaxing and friendly place where neighbors can meet and where students from H-B Woodlawn and other schools can gather and study after classes. --Cherrydale Library serves a larger portion of Arlington County than any of the other six branch libraries. Citizens living north of Lee Highway and east of Glebe Road value Cherrydale Library and use it. Many visit it on foot, thus adding no traffic to Arlington's roads or pollution to its air. --In fact, usage of Cherrydale Library has been rising since our national economic downturn began. The Library Department projects that the number of visitors and the number of items checked out will have risen 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, showing that libraries become even more valuable in times of economic hardship. --In that connection, no public library in Virginia (or elsewhere in the United States) closed during the Great Depression, according to what the president of the Virginia Historical Society, Dr. Charles Bryan, reported to Cherrydale citizens in 1998, the previous time the County Board considered closing Cherrydale Library. We believe that we Arlingtonians in the 21st Century can and must maintain a similar record in protecting the grassroots institutions of our civilization.
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