Arlington, VA

A local bookstore is holding an auction to raise money after the owner says rent increased by 30 percent this year due to property tax changes.

One More Page Books, located in the East Falls Church neighborhood at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street, is hosting a silent auction fundraiser from Friday, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. until Sunday, August 18 at 5 p.m. The bookstore is currently finalizing the item list, which currently ranges from artwork and chocolates, to bike tours and book manuscript consults.

Owner Eileen McGervey said she was excited for the auction, which kicks off with the store’s regularly-scheduled wine and cheese party Friday night. She told ARLnow that customers came up with the idea of the auction, which has since gathered items like handmade shawls and a dinner with media members who cover the Capitals.

The auction was arranged after McGervey said the landlord informed her last month that the real estate taxes for the building went up significantly. The end result? A 30 percent rent increase, applicable to the current year.

McGervey said that’s a challenge for the independent bookstore not only because it operates on small profit margins, but also, “unlike other businesses we don’t have the option of raising the prices because books come with prices on them.”

The tax hike was the result of the county changing the way it calculates the value of some commercial buildings, like the mixed-use commercial condo building One More Page inhabits. The change more than doubled the assessed value of One More Page’s space — and thus also its assessed taxes — even after it was lowered on appeal.

(That’s on top of the County Board approving a real estate tax hike which increased the amount owners pay by two cents for every $100 in assessed property.)

“Unfortunately, in the case of the condominium that houses One More Page, this meant an increase in the assessed value of the property from CY 2018 of $2,351,100.00 to a CY 2019 valuation of $5,591,100.00,” Board Chair Christian Dorsey wrote in a letter to McGervey, who had asked if the Board could offer any assistance to the bookstore.

Dorsey continued:

This is indeed a large jump in the assessed value of the building. The County is bound by the Constitution of Virginia and State Code to assess all real estate at fair market value, and this methodology provides a more accurate assessment of commercial condominium values than did the previous. This methodology took into consideration the actual income and expense data submitted by the owner of the property along with similar condominiums in Arlington.

While the owner chose not to appeal the assessment with the County’s Board of Equalization this year, the owner did file an administrative appeal, resulting in a $700,000 reduction in the CY 2019 assessment, to $4,907,500. With the assessment reduction, the total tax bill for the building in Calendar Year 2019 is $56,485.00, up from $26,228.67 in CY 2018.

One More Page has been able to cover the rent raise in the past month, but at the expense of paying some of its vendors. Asking for help covering these bills is awkward, McGervey said, but better than the alternative.

“You don’t want to just be gone one day and have people not know that you could have been there,” McGervey said.

She noted that she’s now exploring the idea of a membership program to cover future rent needs.

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Drivers may soon see an old school bus tooling down Wilson Blvd and delivering books, thanks to funding from an Arlington-based nonprofit.

Read Early and Daily (R.E.A.D.) recently received a $50,000 ‘A Community Thrives’ national grant from the Gannett Foundation. R.E.A.D. secured the grant by pitching a traveling book bus that would bring books to people in Arlington who have trouble accessing them.

R.E.A.D. founder Jennifer Sauter-Price said she was “over the moon” about the grant in a social media message to ARLnow.

“Our hope is the Book Bus will be a bookstore for all families,” she said. “Another component while we sell books is to educate customers about book deserts and the inequities of book ownership and how it affects school readiness.”

Sauter-Price got the idea of a book bus from a popular mobile toy shop she helped run as part of a lending library in Austin, Texas. She now wants to travel around Arlington with books that feature diverse characters and stories about acceptance. In total, she has distributed 1,100 free books to about 250 children in Arlington since starting the nonprofit last year.

“We are proud of the work R.E.A.D. has done to enhance the Arlington, Virginia community,” said Andy Yost, Gannett’s chief marketing officer.

“At Gannett, our mission is to connect and empower our readers to make a difference in the communities they are a part of,” Yost said. “Through A Community Thrives, we are further fueling our mission and purpose.”

A Community Thrives has raised more than $6.5 million since 2017 for projects benefiting communities nationwide.

R.E.A.D. currently distributes free children’s books to gathering places around Arlington, like Mr. Moore’s Barbershop on Lee Highway, where young readers are encouraged to talk about the book they’re reading while they get a haircut.

People also buy books directly from the nonprofit’s website, or sign up for monthly subscription book boxes, which Sauter-Price says help fund the books she gives away for free — a business model she hopes to continue with the bus, too.

Now Sauter-Price is hoping to buy a decommissioned school bus and transform it into a bookmobile.

“The most important thing is to make sure it’s waterproof and temperature controlled for the books,” she said. “Then to create a fun children’s bookstore vibe inside that will be engaging for kids. Then the not-fun stuff: insurance, gas, Wi-Fi, licenses. My hope after all this is we will have funds leftover for more books.”

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Sauter-Price

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Ballston Quarter could soon be home to a temporary pop-up library.

According to an Arlington County Board agenda item, the owner of Ballston Quarter mall and the Ballston Business Improvement District invited Arlington Public Library to create a temporary pop-up library in unoccupied retail space on the street level of the mall.

“The use of the newly renovated mall space is being offered to the County for one month at no cost,” the agenda item noted. “The county will be permitted to open a new pop-up library location within the mall for a period beginning on July 1 through August 2, 2019.”

Library services could include a small collection of books and audio-visual materials along with technology access. The library would be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The space will be provided by mall management at no cost to the county, while the operation of the library will be paid from the library’s general operating funds.

This would not be the first pop-up library in retail space. In 2016, Arlington County opened a pop-up library in Crystal City Shops that has since been extended through 2019.

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Longtime Lee Highway business Mr. Moore’s Barber Shop is piloting a new program pairing kids coming in for haircuts with free books.

“We specifically chose Moore’s Barbershop because it is an Arlington institution,” said Jennifer Sauter-Price, who founded the nonprofit behind the program, Read Early And Daily. “Everyone knows about it, and he has customers for years and others who drive from far away for his services.”

The nonprofit began dropping off books at the barbershop earlier this month and lets kids pick out their favorite to take home. Sauter-Price says she handpicks books that showcase diversity and partners with organizations like First Book and Scholastic Literacy Partnerships, which buy copies for them.

“The goal is to give away as many books as possible,” said James Moore, who was interested in the idea of bringing books to barbershop to spark conversations and help teach kids communication skills.

He told ARLnow that for him it started with Dorothy Hamm, the civil rights activist who integrated Stratford Junior High School and for whom the School Board voted to re-name the school after last year. Moore says he was in the school band, which used to practice at Hamm’s house.

“When I go to practice she would always say, ‘What did you learn at school today?’ and I would say some generic answer, and she wouldn’t let me go until I told her what I learned at school,” Moore said. “So I do the same thing now.”

Moore asks kids to take the books home with them, and to give a kind of “oral book report” about what they read the next time they’re sitting in his chair.

Moore said that so far his favorite book was “Happy to be Nappy” by Bell Hooks.

“I was kind of offended at first,” said the barber. “And then I read the book and understood what it was about.”

Sauter-Price dropped off 21 books earlier this month at Mr. Moore’s. As of a week ago, kids had taken all but 11.

https://twitter.com/Mooresbarber/status/1131580096765190144?s=20

The shop has been a community fixture for good conversations since Moore’s father James Moore founded it in 1960 as the first integrated barber shop in Arlington.

When asked what his 86-year-old father thought of the new book program, James Moore, Jr. said his dad though it was “great.”

As for the future? Sauter-Price is planning to add more community bookshelves around town at a laundromat, the Arlington Clothesline, Mount Olivet Methodist Church, and the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

“One thought is to include a postcard with future books so families can let us know what they think by mailing back the postcard, but we are still working out those details,” said Sauter-Price.

“What will have to happen is the program will have to mature,” said Moore, who hopes to expand to books for teenagers and adults. As an avid history reader, he says he’d like to introduce more adults to books by Malcolm X and the Green Book.

A copy of the Green Book was perched on an empty chair when this reporter visited, and it sparked a conversation with several of the men waiting for haircuts who hadn’t heard of it before.

“In order to be a successful barber you have to be able to communicate with people, learn about people,” said Moore afterward.

Moore also serves as a captain at Fire Station 8 on Lee Highway and says he plans to retire next year. But when that happens, he says he’ll keep the barbershop going, and hopefully will continue the communications flowing.

“If everyone does one little thing, it makes a big impact,” he said.

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Over 25,000 used books, DVDs and CDs are set to be offered for sale at a sprawling book festival in Rosslyn on Thursday (April 25).

The Rosslyn Reads Book Festival is an annual fundraiser for Turning the Page, a non-profit that helps students receive educational resources. The festival is planned to be held in Rosslyn’s Central Place Plaza at 1800 N. Lynn Street.

Book prices range from $1 to $8. Attendees are also invited to bring their own used books to donate as well.

A series of events are also planned throughout the day, with children’s activities through most of the day and adult-focused activities in the evening.

  • 10 a.m. — Tunes & Dales, a family story time organized by the Arlington Public Library
  • 4 p.m. — Magic of Zain, a magic show for children
  • 4 p.m. — The bar opens
  • 5:30 p.m. — Discussion with Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote
  • 6:30 p.m. — Weiss book signing
  • 7-10 p.m. — Live music by UltraFaux

File photo

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The County Board is moving closer to approving the first increase in the Arlington Public Library’s (APL) collections budget since 2014.

The proposal is part of the FY2020 budget sketched out by County Manager Mark Schwartz, which allocates $300,000 to APL’s budget for books and other materials for rent. The Board expressed broad support for beefing up the library’s budget during a work session Tuesday.

APL’s chief materials manager Peter Petruski presented that increasing the budget would help reduce the e-book hold times which have been “climbing precipitously.”

Together with APL Director Diane Kresh, Petruski told the Board that currently average hold times for an e-book are 38 weeks, but they are confident they can knock that down to 28 weeks.

“That’s a significant jump,” noted Board member Matt de Ferranti. “Is there any particular reason that we’re able to make that transition to pull that all the way down?”

“If we directly go towards the most in-demand titles, more copies of them, into people’s hands… that’s how we getting that 10-week that drop,” replied Petruski.

Director Kresh shared that the hold times for print books hover between 18 and 19 weeks, and that APL is “very hopeful” that the six-figure budget increase will help reduce that as well. Kresh also said the library would like to use the funding to buy extra copies of hot items, like Michelle Obama’s biography, which still has 300 holds.

APL also wants to use the funds to roll out a new movie and documentary streaming service called “Kanopy” currently used in Alexandria and D.C. public libraries. The last fiscal year budget cut 17 percent from the collections budget — leading the library to remove free digital services like its audiobook streaming service and investment research tool in July.

Schwartz previously forecasted up to $30 million more in county budget cuts this year, but proposed only $5.2 million due to some unexpected growth in real estate revenues and lower-than-expected employee healthcare costs. In a February letter about the proposed FY2020 budget Schwartz recommended using the county’s fortuitous finances to increase APL’s collection budget.

“This really goes a long way towards addressing where we’ve been in the past and we’re very, very grateful for the support,” Kresh said to the Board Tuesday afternoon.

“Since 2014, not only has the collection budget not increased as costs have escalated but the use of e-books and other digital platforms have become increasingly popular,” wrote Schwartz in February. “The library’s ability to provide popular materials to patrons in a timely manner, in either digital or print format, has eroded significantly.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Board members Katie Cristol and Eric Gutshall seemed to signal support for the budget increase by commending the library for its goals to reduce hold times and increase collections.

Board Chair Christian Dorsey said, “It’s remarkable when you think about it even though we’re having a budget discussion, libraries serve as any and everything for people in our community. Safe spaces for kids, productive spaces for teens, ways to combat social isolation for seniors and everything in between.”

The County Board will have until late April to amend the proposed county budget for the next fiscal year and is scheduled to vote on the final version on April 23.

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Morning Notes

More Water Infrastructure Repairs — Work to replace a collapsed 18-inch stormwater pipe on Arlington Ridge Road is expected to continue through the weekend, prompting detours on Arlington Ridge between 23rd Street S. and S. Glebe Road. Also today, crews from the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services are working to fix a broken water main, affecting 50-100 water customers, on the 1600 block of N. Jackson Street in Lyon Village. [Twitter, Twitter]

History of the Namesake of Hall’s Hill — The historically African-American neighborhood of Hall’s Hill in Arlington is named after an “infamous” 19th century slaveowner named Basil Hall who once shot a slave in a fit of “bravado.” In 1866 his land was sold to form the neighborhood. Hall had a sister, a downtown brothel keeper named Mary Ann, whose land in Arlington later became Marymount University. [Falls Church News-Press]

Local Kids Pen Hamilton Book — Just in time for Hamilton, the wildly popular musical, to arrive at the Kennedy Center, two Arlington kids (and their dad) have self-published a 50-page book “about the Washington-area sites related to Alexander Hamilton, his wife Eliza, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and other Founding Fathers.” [Amazon]

Photo courtesy John Sonderman

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(Updated 2:39 p.m.) A spring book festival is coming to Rosslyn this year for the first time.

The Rosslyn Reads! Spring Book Festival will take place at Rosslyn’s Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street) on Thursday, April 26, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m, and will feature readings from local writers, local food and beverages, and a used book sale.

Used books, DVDs, and CDs will be sold for $1-5, with all proceeds benefiting Turning the Page, an educational resources nonprofit.

Author talks will be held throughout the day, and a free concert by Virginia band Two Ton Twig will be held in the evening.

The event is hosted by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in partnership with the Arlington Public Library and Washington’s Carpe Librum book store.

The full list of scheduled events at the festival is below.

  • 10 a.m. – Event opening
  • 10:15 a.m. – Preschool story time
  • 11 a.m. – Managing Up “Workout” Coffee Talk with Careerstone Group LLC president and The Washington Business Journal editor-at-large
  • 12 p.m. – Author Talk with Bayou Bakery owner David Guas on his cookbooks
  • 12:30 p.m. – Author Talk with John Pfordresher on his The Secret History of Jane Eyre: How Charlotte Brontë Wrote Her Masterpiece
  • 1 p.m. – Author Talk with Nicholas Reynolds on his Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961
  • 2 p.m. – Author Talk with Rebecca Czarniecki on her Manners & Tea with Mrs. B
  • 3 p.m. – Family storytelling & music
  • 4 p.m. – The Great Zucchini Show magic show
  • 5-7 p.m. – Author Talk and beer tasting with Mark Elliott Benbow on his Christian Heurich and His Brewery
  • 5:30 p.m. – Author Talk with Liza Mundy on her Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
  • 7-10 p.m. – Two Ton Twig performance alongside a pop-up wine and beer bar and food trucks

File photo

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Morning Notes

Eligibility Changes Proposed for Cemetery — “With Arlington National Cemetery set to run out of space in the coming years, restrictions on who can be buried there need to be considered, officials said Thursday.” [WTOP, Army Times]

Emergency Metro Repairs Next Weekend — Emergency repairs will mean reduced service on Metro’s Silver Line and some changes to Blue Line service next weekend, during St. Patrick’s Day and peak cherry blossom season. [Fox 5]

ACPD Conducts DUI Education Event — To discourage driving under the influence, Arlington County Police and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program conducted an anti-drunk driving event during Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl. Among other activities, attendees were invited to try to shoot basketballs into trash bins while wearing impaired vision goggles. [WTOP, Twitter]

Video Project Keeps Iota’s Memory Alive — A video series called The Iota Chair is “an oral history project on Facebook with musicians who frequented Iota Club & Cafe,” which closed last year. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Local Journalist Pens History Book — “Arlington resident Michael Doyle recounts the life and times of a 19th century morality crusader who campaigned against an infamous ‘free-love’ commune, in a new book entitled ‘The Ministers’ War: John W. Mears, the Oneida Community and the Crusade for Public Morality.'” [Amazon]

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Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

 Tuesday, Feb. 20

Optimal Physical Therapy Open House*
Optimal Physical Therapy (1700 N. Moore Street)
Time: 4-7 p.m.

Meet with physical therapists, enjoy light refreshments, and tour the new Optimal Physical Therapy location at the Rosslyn Metro Center building.

Pet Dental Care 101
Aurora Hills Library (735 18th Street S.)
Time: 5-6 p.m.

Clarendon Animal Care presents an pet oral health lesson. It’s national pet dental health month, so now is as good as ever to learn how to take care of your cat’s bad breath.

Toastmasters Open House
Asahi Restaraunt (2250 Clarendon Boulevard)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

An evening dedicated to the organization focused on improving public speaking and leadership skills, where interested potential toastmasters can ask questions and learn more over dinner.

Wednesday, Feb. 21

Introduction to Python
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Learn the Python programming language for free with this beginner’s course aimed at introducing debugging and other software programming fundamentals. Registration is required.

Arlington Committee of 100: Opioid Crisis Conversation*
Marymount University – Phelan Hall (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7 p.m.

A dinner conversation focused on addressing the opioid crisis’ causes and effects in Arlington, and what the community and officials can do to stop the epidemic. Dinner is $28 for members, $30 otherwise.

 Thursday, Feb. 22

Pups & Pints*
Latitude Apartments (3601 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

Latitude Apartments presents a free happy hour for you and your puppies, with snacks, drinks, and socializing for all. Be sure to check out the puppy photo booth!

Right Proper Beer and Donuts Night at Sugar Shack
Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee (1014 S. Glebe Road)
Time: 4:30-9:30 p.m.

Right Proper Brewing brings several of their beers — including their cherry-aged Cheree Berliner-Weissenborn — to the donut shop for an evening of beer pairings, paninis, and pastries.

Black Music Matters
Aurora Hills Library (735 18th Street S.)
Time: 7-8 p.m.

Celebrate Black History Month with Katea Stitt, the program director at WPFW-FM 89.3, as she examines black music’s evolution and the impact it has had on social justice initiatives.

 Friday, Feb. 23

Creative Coffee: Ink Washes
Connection: Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive)
Time: 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

A casual weekly creative meet-up for artists to experiment and improve their work in a social setting. Bring your own materials to this adult-friendly gathering.

St. Agnes Soup Supper*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

The church will offer meatless soups and a noodle dish, and more every Friday during the Lenten holiday. Guests are invited to stay for confession and the stations of the cross afterwards.

Val Kilmer: Cinema Twain
Arlington Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Actor and Director Val Kilmer, of Top Gun and Batman Forever, presents a screening on his one-man show, Citizen Twain. Tickets from $30-$75. Through February 24.

Saturday, Feb. 24

Poetry Reading: Douglass & Waters
One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street)
Time: 7-8 p.m.

Two award-winning poets — M. Scott Douglass and Jesse Waters, come to the bookstore to read from their books as well as other collections.

Urban Agriculture: Plan & Prepare Your Vegetable Garden
Westover Library (1644 N. McKinley Road)
Time: 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Learn how to bring some gardening techniques to your balcony, roof deck, or larger urban space with the latest installment in the library’s urban agriculture series. This month’s topic will be planning and preparing a vegetable garden. Reservations requested.

Sunday, Feb. 25

A Diana Peterfreund Conversation: Omega City Trilogy
One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street)
Time: 3-4 p.m.

Author Diana Peterfreund discusses the final installment of her tween intergalactic adventure series, Omega City. Peterfreund has penned over ten novels for adults, kids, and everyone in between.

* Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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Arlington Public Library is struggling to keep up with demand for “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s exposé on President Donald Trump’s White House.

With a three-week checkout policy for books, it could take weeks — even months — for patrons to get their hands on a copy.

The #1 Amazon bestseller has 458 holds on 28 copies across the library system as of this afternoon. Nearly 150 people are on the waitlist for 15 audiobook copies and 252 are on the waitlist for 25 eBooks.

But some relief could be on the way. The library has ordered 61 new copies of the book, according to the library catalog website.

By comparison, demand for the #1 New York Times bestseller in fiction, “The Woman in the Window,” is lower. There are 215 holds on 35 copies. The book by A.J. Finn follows the story of heavy drinker who witnesses a crime near her Harlem townhouse.

Wolff’s book — which generated lines at local bookstores upon its Jan. 5 release — has drawn sharp rebuke from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other Trump administration officials.

“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said at a recent press conference.

File photo

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