Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fairfax County Public Library fails in hiring new Director, plans no immediate action

In an action worthy of the WMATA Board's horrendously inept year-long search for a new General Manager, the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees failed to find and hire a new Library Director to replace the outgoing Sam Clay as the message from the LBOT Chairman below indicates.  

Worse is the fact that the Board does not intend to find one promptly.  That could well leave Clay in charge of the library.  Over the last decade, he has led the destruction and demoralization of the county's library system.  Some low lights over the last decade:
  • The library's budget has been cut by more than 22% over the decade.
  • Library spending as a share of the County budget has been cut by 30% and now is less than three-quarters of one percent of County spending.   
  • Library staffing per capita has decreased by more than 23%--and open positions are not being filled.
  • The county's book collection has been cut by more than a half-million, that's more than 20%, despite continuing growth in the County's population.
  • As a result, use of the FCPL system has shrunk over decade as measured by virtually every indicator tracked by the library.
  • The county's library system ranks 15th of 19 public library systems in the metropolitan DC area according to the Library Journal. 
So much for attracting families and employers to Fairfax County and its "knowledge corridor."  Sam Clay has been a disaster for the County's libraries and their future.  His continued "leadership" of FCPL will only assure the continuing strangulation of our public libraries.  

Clay, the LBOT,  and the Board of Supervisors have driven our public libraries into such a budget and management hole that no qualified candidate apparently wants to take on the job of leading it.

To prevent further destruction of a vital county asset, Clay must go.

From: Charles Fegan []
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2015 3:32 PM
To:;; Miriam Smolen; 'Michael Donovan'; 'Donald Heinrichs'; Suzanne Levy; Willard Jasper; D Ewing; 'Priscille Dando';
Cc: Molchany, Dave; Clay III, Edwin S.; White, Nhu-An; Rowe, Sherry R.
Subject: Library Director
Dear Members,

I would like to take a moment to thank you for your time in participating in the recruitment preparation and interview process in search for our Library Director. As you are aware we had a thorough process in place to identify the right candidate not only for our library system, but also for our staff, customers and community. While we identified and interviewed several viable candidates during the process, some elected to withdraw. An offer was made to the selected candidate, but unfortunately, the offer was declined.

Today, Karrie and I met with Deputy County Executive Dave Molchany, and the HR staff and it was determined not to immediately proceed with launching a new recruitment search for the Library Director; however, we would like to reassess the current situation and work on the next step after the New Year.

Again, thank you for your continued support. I look forward to our further collaboration.    


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