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Friday, February 3, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Keeping library shut would be an outrage

Letter: Keeping library shut would be an outrage

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Editor: Certain events come around like clockwork from year to year. To name a few: Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas tree decorating and Fourth of July fireworks and the slow transformation of summer into fall. They are tuned to the rotation of the Earth, and we can never forget their coming.

For those of us in Glencarlyn, one such event is the perennial call to shutter the Glencarlyn branch library.

Our neighborhood, and neighborhoods nearby, could not live without that library. That stout little library is a community center and a home away from home, and is essential to the education of many children in the area.

It serves Carlin Springs Elementary School, Kenmore Middle School and Campbell Elementary School, all of which have significant populations of students without computers or other such things necessary for their future success. Within those walls is the forging of the future of Arlington and of the country as a whole.


There was a proposal to close the library in 2019 for budgetary reasons, and because the library is “isolated” (a flagrant untruth), and to this very day there are discussions to keep it closed until July 2022 as most of the rest of Arlington libraries would reopen. After the 2019 fiasco, this is nothing less than a slap in the face to a neighborhood which has already seen such callousness.

The benefits of a public library are well-known; any reader can vouch for such. They are great repositories of knowledge and the source of solutions to a great many problems. I have learned much about the world from books I have chanced upon at the Glencarlyn library, and I wish others, of any age, that same opportunity.

If the Glencarlyn library were to be closed, I can tell you right now where its current patrons would go in its absence. It would not be to Columbia Pike or Shirlington or Cherrydale or Central or any of the other libraries in Arlington. They would go to the Woodrow Wilson Library in Baileys Crossroads.

Think about that for a moment: In this situation, Arlington would not merely be refusing to provide library services to many of its residents in a timely manner, but it would be offloading them onto Fairfax County and its library system. It would be declaring that the education of so many people who attend Arlington schools and pay Arlington taxes does not matter to the county elite in Courthouse.

It would not merely be neglect; it would be shoving the problem onto somebody else. If that were to happen, it would be something that Arlington ought to be ashamed of.

Arlington must do its duty to its residents. Arlington must keep the Glencarlyn library open, and stop using it as a convenient cut when trying to pass a budget. It is the only responsible thing to do.

Alexander Wallace, Arlington

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