A place to convene with neighbors, donate those dusty spy novels and show children the merits of community service comes in a package the size of an old cranberry crate.
These Little Free Libraries, neighborhood-sponsored curbside libraries with a free, “take a book, return a book,” policy, have sprouted up in Arlington since Robert Walter installed one in his neighborhood off Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive in 2012.
“It’s better than donating to Goodwill, who will sell [the books], and it’s a way to give back to the neighborhood,” said Walter, who heard about The Little Free Library organization on Facebook.
Little Free Libraries encourage communities to contribute any books — from children’s books to novels to cookbooks — as well as to enjoy the contributions made by other neighbors.
There are now seven Little Free Libraries in Arlington, located at 3900 7th Street S., 1060 N. Liberty Street, 4706 32nd Street N., 5117 N. 27th Street, 1700 S. Edgewood Street, 6328 22nd Street N. along a section of the Four Mile Run trail, and on the grounds of Washington-Lee High School.
Last week, each library was stocked with books, including comedian David Cross’ memoir and an installment of the “Berenstain Bears” children’s series.
Much like ordinary libraries, Little Free Libraries are meant to be a community hub. However, they don’t charge late fees or require library cards, just an interest in reading and paying-it-forward.
“It’s good for poor people and the [undocumented] population who might have been intimidated by the registration process at a library, or who want to avoid potential late fees,” Walter said of his Little Free Library. “It’s also more social.”
After his proposal for a Little Free Library was approved by the homeowners’ association of his eight-residence community, Walter requested a box from Little Free Library.
Walter said his homeowners’ association paid approximately $350 for their recycled cranberry crate, its post and installation, but many communities make their own libraries rather than buying them from the organization.
“I’ve seen some really elaborate, cool designs that people have done,” Walter said. The Little Free Library website includes pictures of library “stewards” like Walter, who built their libraries to look like covered bridges or old-fashioned school houses.
More than 2,000 Little Free Libraries exist across the world. Since the organization’s beginning in Wisconsin in 2009, Little Free Library owners in Vietnam, Germany and Australia have registered their libraries on the official map.
For residents interested in installing their own, all that’s needed is the approval of the neighborhood association, access to building materials or the means to purchase a library box, and registration with Little Free Library’s map. A steward to sponsor and maintain the library is also essential.
“When I was a resident, I would just keep a box of books in the house and it was like a constant reserve,” Walter said.
Although Walter has relocated to Fairfax, and will soon transfer stewardship of his library to someone in his old neighborhood, he knows his library still gets frequent business.
“I went back there to pick up some mail, and there were books there, different ones from the last time I saw it,” Walter said.
Construction to Begin on Ballston Garage – Local developer The Shooshan Company says it is beginning construction on a 550-space parking garage at 4040 Wilson Blvd, site of a planned 20-story office building in Ballston. The building is the final component of Shooshan’s Liberty Center development. [Washington Business Journal]
Clarendon Day Date Set — The annual Clarendon Day street fair will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27, the Clarendon Alliance has announced. This year the event will add a bluegrass music stage next to the Clarendon Chili Cookoff. The layout is also being changed “to make it easier for people to find the cold beverages of their choice.” [Clarendon Alliance]
VDOT Warns of E-Z Pass Scam — VDOT says some Virginia E-Z Pass users have reported receiving emails demanding payment for a past due debt. The emails are a scam, the department says. It’s unclear how the scammer obtained the email addresses of E-Z Pass holders. [Reston Now]
New Arlington Book Released — “We Are Arlington,” a book featuring 180 pages of photos and history about Arlington and Arlington residents, is now on sale. The author is Bill Hamrock, co-owner of Pasha Cafe and Billy’s Cheesesteaks in Cherrydale. [Preservation Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
(Update at 12:25 p.m.) Over the years Arlington has been home to numerous eccentric characters and groups. And those local eccentricities have been faithfully chronicled by Charlie Clark, the man who writes the weekly “Our Man in Arlington” column for the Falls Church News-Press.
Clark peppers his columns with unusual people and Arlington history, and he saved the best 100 columns for his book, he said. Clark will discuss “Arlington County Chronicles,” which was published in April, at Arlington Central Library on Monday, July 7, at 7:00 p.m.
“It’s a little bit of history, public policy, baby boomer nostalgia and neighborhood flavor,” Clark told ARLnow.com. Clark will read from his book at the talk, cherry-picking ones that are “humorous enough in style to bear reading aloud.”
Included in the talk may be some nuggets of local history that attendees were previously unaware of. Readers may be surprised to learn from “Arlington County Chronicles” that:
- At the Arlington Metaphysical Chapel off Wilson Blvd, church-goers hold seances, give tarot readings and read from all manner of religious texts.
- There is a preserved dueling ground at N. Randolph Street and Glebe Road, one which bore witness to the famed 19th century duel between Henry Clay and John Randolph, as well as a few of Clark’s own scraps. “Neither was very violent,” Clark said of his childhood fights. “In both cases, my opponent and I agreed, like duelers, to end it after we’d both stood up to the enemy and saved face.”
- The Doors’ Jim Morrison lived at 2320 N. Evergreen Street in his teen years, and at two other Arlington addresses that Clark gives in the book. “I associate many Arlington sites with the memory of the Doors’ carnivalesque organ,” Clark said in his Morrison essay.
- When Katie Couric interviewed Warren Beatty, a Washington-Lee High School graduate, on The Today Show, she mentioned that she went to Yorktown and he answered: “What’s Yorktown?” Beatty is one of 14 thespians Clark mentions in his essay “Arlingtonians in Hollywood.”
- The two oldest retail businesses currently in Arlington, according to Clark, are both shoe stores. The Public Shoe Store on Wilson Blvd and the Sam Torrey Shoe Service on Lee Highway were established in 1938 and 1945, respectively.
- During the Cold War, Arlington Hall was the hub of a code-breaking operation, where linguists worked to decipher Soviet and Japanese messages for government officials. The operation shut down in 1949 after being infiltrated by Soviet double agents.
- A stand-off between civil rights activist Dion Diamond and American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell occurred in 1960 during a lunch counter sit-in at what was then the Cherrydale Drug Fair store. A few days after the protest, Arlington restaurants desegregated, Clark said in his essay. “All you had to do was crossover the Maryland and Northern Virginia line to find de facto segregation,” Diamond, then a Howard University student, told Clark.
- One of Arlington’s wealthiest landowners in the late 1800s may have been the product of a sex scandal, according to Clark’s essay “A Lee Family Scandal.” Nicholas Febrey owned 600 acres of George Washington Forest, in the area of what is now Swanson Middle School. Clark writes that Febrey’s mother, an unwed daughter of a preacher, delivered him as a baby to the wealthy George Washington Parke Custis, who raised him.
Many of the included columns pay homage to the culture of Clark’s parents’ generation, especially his essay about attending “cotillion” dance lessons as an Arlington youth.
“They did a great job of trying to pass their culture on to us, and I feel a little bad that we were so tough to handle,” Clark said. “This is a thank you.”
An additional book talk will be Sunday, July 13 at Cassatt’s.
Free People to Open Next Week — The “bohemian” women’s clothing store Free People will open next Friday (May 16) at the Pentagon City mall. The 3,200 square foot boutique is the company’s 94th retail store and the fourth in the D.C. area. [PRWeb]
Bike and Walk to School Day — Today is Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. Children and parents were encouraged to seek people-powered transportation to school to teach students “about the health and environmental benefits of biking and walking.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Make-A-Wish Star’s Video Released – Addy, the 5-year-old who shot part of a music video in Rosslyn after her wish to become a pop star was granted by Make-A-Wish, has had her video released on YouTube. The video is a cover of the Katy Perry song “Roar.” Addy is suffering from a Wilms Tumor, a form of kidney cancer. [YouTube]
Entrepreneurial Author to Speak at Library – U.S. News & World Report senior money editor Kimberly Palmer will discuss her book “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life” tonight at 7:00 at Arlington Central Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
More Homes Awaiting the Wrecking Ball — Another 11 homes are set to be torn down in Arlington, after applying for demolition permits in February. The group Preservation Arlington says three are located in historic districts. “The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials,” the group writes. “Many had the potential for renovation and additions, or, at a bare minimum, reclamation/reuse of building materials.” The group is currently seeking nominations for its annual “Most Endangered Historic Places” list. [Preservation Arlington]
Arlington Woman Turns 100 — Arlington resident Virginia Blake turned 100 last month. Blake, whose paternal grandmother lived to 111 years old, only moved out of her Military Road home and into a senior living facility last fall. [Sun Gazette]
Potomac Yard, Prior to Development — A photo from the 1990s shows the Arlington portion of Potomac Yard before apartment and office developments were built. [Twitter]
Teen Book Fest Comes to Arlington — Updated at 11:35 a.m. — The NoVaTeen Book Festival will take place at Washington-Lee High School on Saturday. NoVaTeen bills itself as “the first-ever festival celebrating Young Adult literature in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area.” [NoVaTeen Book Festival]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Richmond Named Acting AED Director — Cynthia Richmond has been named the acting director of Arlington Economic Development following the untimely death of Terry Holzheimer. Holzheimer died of a sudden heart attack over the weekend. Richmond was serving as the deputy director of AED. Arlington County plans to begin a recruitment process to find a permanent director for AED soon. [Arlington County]
FBI Cracking Down on Corruption in N. Va. — The FBI has created a task force to investigate public corruption in Northern Virginia. Public corruption is the FBI’s “number one criminal investigative priority” at the moment and the agency has “cases in all categories in Northern Virginia.” [Loudoun Times]
Man Sentenced in $30 Million Fraud Scheme — A Florida man has been sentenced in a $30 million scheme that defrauded NASA into awarding contracts on false pretenses. Michael Dunkel, 60, was awarded contracts by NASA intended for minority-owned businesses by claiming he was an employee of an Arlington company supposedly run by a woman of Portuguese descent. Dunkel in turn paid kickbacks to the company. [Associated Press, U.S. Justice Department]
APAH to Purchase Apartment Building — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is purchasing the Arna Valley View apartments near Glebe Road and I-395. The purchase will allow 101 apartments to remain as committed affordable housing for at least the next 60 years. [Sun Gazette]
Fundraising for Pike Documentary Book — Photographer Lloyd Wolf is raising money to print a book based on photos taken by the Columbia Pike Documentary Project. [GoFundMe]
Photo courtesy Kimberly Suiters/All News 99.1 WNEW
County Board Approves Glencarlyn Park Playground — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved a $485,000 construction contract for a new playground at Glencarlyn Park. The playground is intended for 5-12 year olds and includes a swing set and a “treehouse” log play structure. [Arlington County]
Demand Rises at AFAC – The Arlington Food Assistance Center “has seen a 20 percent surge in families visiting the food pantry in need of groceries over the past six months.” The director of AFAC says cuts in food stamp (SNAP) benefits has increased need in the community. Those cuts are expected to deepen if Congress passes a new compromise farm bill that includes $800 million in annual food stamp reductions. [Patch]
Grant Accepted for Innovation Initiative — Arlington County has accepted a $350,000 from the state to help fund “an innovative public-private initiative that will connect fast growth technology product companies with national security agencies headquartered in Arlington and the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Arlington will contribute a $175,000 matching grant to the project. [Arlington County]
Dem Caucus Is ‘Basically About the Streetcar’ — On its Twitter account, the blog Greater Greater Washington opines that this week’s Democratic Arlington County Board caucus is “basically about the streetcar.” Alan Howze and Peter Fallon, who GGW recommends voting for, generally support the Columbia Pike streetcar project while Cord Thomas has spoken out against it. [Twitter, Greater Greater Washington]
New African American Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched a new African American Book Club. The club will “discuss the novels of both new and well-known authors, thought provoking non-fiction about the African American experience.” [Arlington Public Library]
Pageview Problem on ARLnow.com — We are currently trying to resolve a problem that is causing the pageview counter on each article to significantly undercount the actual number of views. The problem is impacting articles published within the past 24-48 hours.
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
That’s what Arlington personal injury lawyer Bruce Deming thinks, and he’s written a book to try to educate the cycling public. Surviving the Crash: Your Legal Rights in a Bicycle Accident is Deming’s attempt to clear up much of the confusion that occurs in most cyclists’ minds after they are involved in an accident.
“There are so many urban myths out there about what your rights are, what do you do in the minutes/hours/days after an accident, who pays your bills, do you need a lawyer?” Deming said. “There are a lot of basic questions that people need answers to, so that’s why I wrote the book.”
Deming, a Lyon Park resident who runs a personal injury law practice in Courthouse, said cyclists in particular should be aware of the “contributory negligence” statute in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland, three of just five states and cities in the country that have the rule.
“If a cyclist is injured as the result of a motorist’s negligence, and the motorist was 99 percent at fault, but the cyclist was 1 percent negligent, and that negligence contributed to the accident, that cyclist is barred from recovering anything for his or her injuries, no matter how catastrophic,” Deming said. “You really have to be squeaky clean.”
Deming said that throughout the book, he tried to emphasize a theme that if cyclists disobey any traffic laws or ride irresponsibly, they will reinforce negative stereotypes that motorist, insurance adjusters and police officers can have toward them.
“Cyclists are second-class citizens,” said Deming, who has been a competitive cyclist for 30 years and teaches spinning at Gold’s Gym. “They are presumed to be at fault sometimes when they might not be, and that comes in bias and prejudices in the minds of drivers out there. Every time a cyclist behaves recklessly on the road, those biases and prejudices are reinforced.”
Deming’s book is being printed and is expected to hit shelves in the next few weeks, he said. When it does, it will be available in print on Amazon for $11.95 and in e-book form for $7.95. Deming is hosting a book release party on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Lyon Hall (3100 Washington Blvd) from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Those interested in attending, where they will receive free copies of the book, must register to do so.
Pi Day in Arlington — Today is March 14, or 3/14, the day that celebrates the mathematical constant Pi (3.14159). In honor of Pi Day, the business review website Yelp is holding a “pie” event at Bakeshop (1025 N. Fillmore Street) in Clarendon, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. [Yelp]
Red Light Cameras Play ‘Pivotal Role’ — Red light cameras play a “pivotal role” in improving traffic and pedestrian safety. Arlington County says. The county’s red light cameras — currently active at four intersections — resulted in a 50 percent decrease in red light violations at those intersections, the county said. [Arlington County]
State Awards for APS Schools — Eight Arlington public elementary schools have earned a distinction as 2013 Virginia Index of Performance award winners. The schools honored are Arlington Science Focus, Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn, McKinley, Nottingham, Taylor, Henry and Jamestown. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington’s All-Male Book Club — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark explores “one of those rare literary phenomena — an all-male book club.” The group of 10 professional men has been meeting to discuss books in the East Falls Church/Westover neighborhood for 13 years. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy “Westover Leftover”
(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) The Arlington Public Library is getting in on the trend of compiling year-end lists. It has released three lists of the library’s top materials in 2012.
The lists released on the library’s website are Top 10 Books of 2012, Top Ten DVDs of 2012 and Top Holds of 2012. Coming in at the top three for books are Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.
“It’s an interesting assortment. It pretty much reflects national tastes, but we also tend to have a little more of an interest in non-fiction in Arlington,” said Arlington County Library spokesman Peter Golkin. “These are just the top 10, but our readers have a wider spread of interests. Our materials folks have to be on their toes a little more than maybe in other parts of the country.”
Golkin noted that library use continues to increase and it may be due, at least in part, to there being fewer bookstores in existence than in years past.
“There’s an obvious need the library is serving in the Arlington community,” Golkin said. “We try to provide what people want to read and watch, that’s part of our mission.”
Golkin noted that while library workers try to keep on top of the latest reading trends, residents can also fill out an online form to request the library adds specific materials.
The full lists released by the library are below.
She met President Calvin Coolidge. She helped with the desegregation of Arlington Public Schools. She authored an autobiography. And now she’s scheduled to discuss that autobiography, The First Century: And Not Ready for the Rocking Chair Yet,” at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).
Miller will be holding an author event at the library’s auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
“Hear her look back on Arlington over the decades, as well as the inside story of how Arlington became the first district in Virginia to desegregate its schools and her role in that moment in history,” the library said of the program. The event is co-sponsored by the Arlington branch of the American Association of University Women.
This isn’t the only library-related news Miller has made recently. In 2011 she received an award from Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh in recognition of her being a centenarian user of the library’s Talking Books service.
Photo courtesy Arlington Public Library
From gift wrapping to assisting Santa, volunteers are needed to help with a number of upcoming holiday events. More information about the items listed below, as well as other volunteer opportunities, can be found online.
- The Holiday Project of the National Capital Area seeks volunteers for one-on-one visits with local nursing home residents on Christmas Day. Many of the residents will not have any other visitors during the holidays, so they consider this time a special treat. Children are welcome and pets are welcome with advance notice. For information or to sign up, contact Robin Wiley at 703-370-0370.
- Deliver gifts to local children with incarcerated parents as part of Offender Aid Restoration‘s annual Project Christmas Angel program. Volunteers pick up the gifts on Thursday, December 13 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. and deliver them from December 14 through December 23. Each child receives a gift with a personalized note from their parent. Volunteers must have a car and a valid driver’s license. A partner is suggested (though not required) because parking in some neighborhoods can be a challenge. Contact Emily Freeman at 703-228-7031.
- The Civitan Club of Arlington needs help at the Photos with Santa booth at the Ballston Mall. Volunteers are needed from now through December 24 and must be at least 15-years-old. Helpers will perform various tasks including processing orders, taking photos, printing photos and directing people through the process. Contact Leandra Finder at 703-473-7245.
- The Reading Connection (TRC) seeks “Gift Wrap for Reading” volunteers for various shifts from December 8-24. Volunteers will gift wrap purchases at the Clarendon Barnes & Noble in return for donations to TRC. Contact Stephanie Berman at 703-528-8317 x10 or sign up online.
Arlington Gets Largest Share of Transit Growth — Over the past 11 years, the rate of growth of those who use public transit in Arlington has been higher than any other D.C. area jurisdiction. Chris Hamilton, chief of Arlington Commuter Services, attributes that growth to the county’s transit outreach efforts. [Mobility Lab]
Homebuyer Assistance Available — The Arlington County Board recently approved $500,000 to help qualified first time homebuyers purchase a new home in the county. The funds are available for down payment and closing cost assistance for about 10-15 low- to moderate-income households. Applications will be accepted started Dec. 3. [Arlington County]
Talk: ‘Books that Shaped America’ — Tomorrow, Nov. 28, Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) will host a talk about “88 remarkable books” that “shaped America.” Mark Dimunation, head of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, will talk about how he and a group of historians, scientists and literary experts helped to select the books — from Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” to Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat.” [Arlington Public Library]
On Saturday afternoon, President Barack Obama visited One More Page Books, an independent book store at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood.
The visit coincided with the post-Thanksgiving shopping day known as Small Business Saturday. With daughters Sasha and Malia in tow, and after several checks of the shopping list on his Blackberry, the president purchased 15 children’s books as Christmas presents.
We asked One More Page owner Eileen McGervey about the experience of hosting the Commander in Chief as a customer.
ARLnow: How did you first find out about the president’s visit?
We found out that President Obama and his daughters would be visiting about 10 minutes before they arrived.
ARLnow: What preparations did you make?
We didn’t have time to do anything. The security folks came in and went through the store in the time before they arrived.
ARLnow: Tell us a bit about the visit — what were they looking for, what did they say to you, etc.?
The President and his daughters were lovely and gracious and we chatted about books. The President had a shopping list of books for gifts and his daughters helped him select from the list. They did browse around the store. The President chatted with customers who were in the store when he arrived and at the end of his shopping, he took pictures with customers. A couple having their wedding reception at La Cote D’or restaurant asked if they could have their picture taken with him (and he said yes) — they were thrilled. While he was in the store, a crowd had gathered outside the store and when he walked out the door a roar went up. He shook hands with folks waiting outside. It was wonderful and folks who had been waiting outside came in after he left to talk about it — everyone was so excited and thrilled.
ARLnow: What has it been like since the visit? Have more people been stopping by the store?
The store’s been very busy. Most of the people who came Saturday after the President left did not know he had been there. They were there for Small Business Saturday. Many of the customers yesterday and today came because the saw the news about the President’s business. It’s been a mix of new customers and regular customers coming by to shop and to congratulate us.
White House photo (top) by Pete Souza
Cybersecurity Center to Open in Ballston — Virginia Tech and defense contractor L-3 Communications are set to jointly open a cybersecurity research center in Ballston on Friday. The center will be located at the Virginia Tech Research Center building at 900 N. Glebe Road. [Washington Post]
Arlington Gearing Up for Nov. Election — In anticipation of election day on Nov. 6, Arlington County is encouraging residents to register to vote and, if necessary, vote absentee. The deadline for voter registration is Oct. 15, and the deadline for absentee ballots is Oct. 30. This year, the county is also allowing voters to cast their absentee ballot in person, at three absentee polling places: Courthouse Plaza, Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, and the Madison Community Center. [Arlington County]
Generals, Patriots Win — The Washington-Lee Generals and the Yorktown Patriots both emerged victorious in local high school football action over the weekend. Yorktown defeated the Stuart Raiders 41-3, and Washington-Lee downed the winless Wakefield Warriorts 49-14. Bishop O’Connell, meanwhile, suffered its first loss, at the hands of the visiting DeMatha Stags. The Stags won 41-10. [Sun Gazette]
New Books By Arlington Authors — Two recently-released books by Arlington authors are receiving good reviews. Radical Chapters by Arlington resident and McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle received an upbeat review by Palo Alto Weekly. The book details the life and times of a Roy Kepler, who was both a prominent peace activist and a groundbreaking bookstore owner. Darkbeast, by Arlington author Morgan Keyes, has picked up a number of good reviews on Amazon.com. The novel follows twelve-year-old Keara, who runs away from home rather than sacrifice Caw, her magical raven darkbeast.
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2