The Classics Thrive at Fairfax Libraries

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Regarding the Jan. 2 front-page article "Hello Grisham -- So Long, Hemingway?":

It is absolutely incorrect to imply that we have removed all copies of literary classics from the Fairfax library system. Although we occasionally reduce the number of copies of a title -- perhaps trimming Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from 110 copies to 108, for example -- we are committed to offering classic texts by Western culture's leading authors.

Here are some other works mentioned and the copies we offer: Boris Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago" -- 50 books, CDs and cassettes; William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" -- 99 standard books, large-print books, CDs and cassettes; Tennessee Williams's "The Glass Menagerie" -- 116 books, videos and play collections; Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- 359 books, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, videos, e-books and large-print books.

We have to balance the need to offer classic literature and the growing demand for more books in more formats and languages, all within our limited space. We can't warehouse every book that every resident wants to read. We use industry standards, computer data and the expertise of experienced librarians to offer a comprehensive collection.

We take our stewardship of public property seriously and strive to prudently manage the public's investment in the library. Our efforts are paying off: We're on track to have books checked out more than 12 million times this fiscal year, a 10 percent increase over fiscal 2005, when we began our new "weeding" process.

EDWIN S. CLAY III

Director

Fairfax County Public Library

Fairfax


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