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Friday, March 31, 2023
FairfaxOpinionEditorial: Keep an archive of authors' library talks

Editorial: Keep an archive of authors’ library talks

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Last week’s Sun Gazette brought coverage of the amounts of cash the Fairfax County library system has been paying to bring authors to speak at community events.

Some of the costs are modest, others in the stratosphere. But that is not the direct thrust of our commentary today; others can decide if they think the fees are warranted.

Instead, we wish to zero in on a comment from one of the critics, who noted that the county government is not routinely taping, then posting online and permanently archiving, some of these events.

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Apparently some authors do not approve of being recorded, although one would presume they’d appreciate the extra publicity that having their efforts available online, compared to the smaller groups of people than could fit in a meeting room or auditorium.

From the perspective of the Fairfax County government – which loves to repeat the mantra “equityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequityequity” as frequently and sanctimoniously as possible – one would think such broader exposure of programming to a wider audience would be a positive, not a negative. “One Fairfax,” yadda-yadda-yadda.

Is there something individual authors fear? If so, perhaps county officials can say “thanks, but no thanks” – it’s not like there aren’t hundreds of others more than happy to be recorded for extra publicity and to collect a check.

Or maybe it’s the government that fears too many people will be looking in. If that’s the case, what’s the reason?

And to circle back on the fiscal-responsibility front, in some neighboring communities, private “friends” groups are the ones paying for author appearances at libraries. There are pluses and minuses to that, we suppose.

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