The Fairfax County library board planning committee will meet Wednesday at the Reston Regional Library, 2355-A Hunters Woods Plaza in Reston. The location of the meeting, open to the public, was incorrect in yesterday's Virginia Weekly.
A $3.5 million public library is scheduled to open near downtown Reston this summer, but some longtime residents there would rather stick to the stacks at the smaller, well-worn Carter Glass Library in north Reston that Fairfax County plans to close.
The county's Library Board of Trustees held a special public hearing last week before a crowd of almost 200 Restonians who angrily protested plans to close the 19-year-old minilibrary in the Lake Anne Village Center in north Reston.
More than 55 speakers, most of them residents of the Lake Anne Fellowship House retirement home, complained the new Reston Regional Library would be inaccessible and would not offer the same "warm and personal atmosphere" as the Carter Glass Library.
The new 30,000-square-foot regional library, located off busy Reston Avenue, is scheduled to open this summer near a planned new government center and senior citizen resident and health care facility.
The library will stock about 150,000 books and have computers, typing rooms and an extensive reference section.
But many of Reston's senior citizens said the 1,237-square-foot Carter Glass Library, described by many as "cozy," already meets their social and personal needs.
"Many lonely people find solace at Carter Glass," said Elizabeth Fautz, a Fellowship House resident. "I'm sure we'll find the new library a cool and impersonal place."
Longtime Reston resident Embry C. Rucker said the Carter Glass Library is a "social center. I'm baffled that the county, after all their support, would remove the major drawing card here."
Edwin S. (Sam) Clay III, county library director, said closing Carter Glass was in accordance with a 13-year-old library board policy to close the older library when Reston's new facility opened.
He said the plans call for the current regional library, Hunters Woods, which is lodged in rented space about a mile from the new facility, to absorb Carter Glass' reading materials and the new larger building will incorporate the Hunters Woods materials.
"Hunters Woods would then be scaled back from 15,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet and remain open on a one-year trial basis," Clay said. "The bottom line is the new regional library will be a far superior library service."
Louise Meade, library board chairman, said the board's planning committee will hold a public hearing on March 6 at the Thomas Jefferson Library, 7415 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, to review the Carter Glass closing.
"Meade declined to speculate on the committee's decision, but said, " . . . We'll consider the testimony and look at everything in light of our planning criteria and the needs for the rest of the county."
Centreville District Supervisor Martha V. Pennino, who spoke at last week's public hearing on behalf of the Carter Glass Library and its patrons, said the new regional library is inaccessible for those unable to drive or walk long distances.
"The planners for the new library goofed. It's in a bad location for those who want to walk, and even for those who want to take the bus," Pennino said. "How are the senior citizens going to cross the four lanes of Reston Avenue?"
Kohann Whitney, Centreville District's representative on the board, said she wants board members to keep Carter Glass open on a one-year trial basis.
The Carter Glass Library, named for the late United States senator, costs the county $87,000 a year to operate.