Don’t Drink and Drive
Fairfax County Police Department’s DUI Enforcement Squad ramps up at the end of every year to focus on Safe December. During this campaign, running from Dec. 4 to Dec. 29, the squad will increase staffing and focus on roadway safety this holiday season. These initiatives are aimed at promoting sober driving, pinpointing impaired drivers, and increasing officer presence on the roads.
In 2016, FCPD established a specialized DUI Enforcement Squad with the primary goal of identifying impaired drivers and removing them from the streets. The goal is that these efforts will serve as an educational reminder to all drivers, ultimately contributing to safer roads and preventing tragedies. The DUI Enforcement Squad has made 177 arrests this year so far.
3 Million Digital Check-outs
On Wednesday, Nov. 29, Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) reached a major milestone, 3 million digital loans for 2023. This is the first time the library system has exceeded the threshold since introducing OverDrive, FCPL’s online digital catalog provider, in 2006.
Sabriel, the award-winning young adult fantasy novel by New York Times’ bestselling author Garth Nix, was the book that helped FCPL surpass the milestone.
With this achievement, FCPL joins an elite group of library systems around the world. In 2022, only 37 libraries who utilize OverDrive hit the 3 million total digital checkout mark in a single year. To add a little more perspective, OverDrive’s website reports that they serve “more than 88,000 libraries and schools in 109 countries with the industry’s largest digital catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, video and other content.”
FCPL uses Overdrive and its mobile application Libby to provide 24/7 access to the digital collection, which includes eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines.
Readers can now access titles whenever and wherever they want using any major device, making digital materials more popular than ever.
While reader interest in digital materials has been increasing steadily over the years, FCPL has seen exponential growth since 2019, with circulation more than doubling in the three-and-a-half-year period. To meet this demand, FCPL collections staff has been hard at work expanding the digital collection to include more titles, as well as additional licenses for popular titles, with the goal of reducing long wait times. This work has been supported in recent years by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who recently approved a $300,000 increase to the library’s collection budget, as well as the Friends of Reston Regional Library, who donated $200,000 to the library in June of 2022 to support the development of both the digital and physical collections.
FCPL’s digital collection is available for free to anyone who has a Fairfax County Public Library card. More information about the collection and how to access it can be found here.
Borrow a Meter from Library of Things
Library cardholders in Fairfax County can now borrow a variety of testing devices from their neighborhood branches. As of Nov. 27, nine types of meters and readers are available for check out at 21 of Fairfax County Public Library’s (FCPL) 23 locations as part of its Library of Things, adding to the growing collection of non-traditional items visitors can borrow for use in their own homes. The introduction of these devices aligns with the library’s 2024-2027 Strategic Plan, which places emphasis on, among many other things, expanding the community’s access to innovative technology and resources.
The initial batch of meters and readers available to check out include:
• Air Quality Monitors
• Battery Testers
• Carbon Monoxide Meters
• Kilowatt Usage Meters
• Laser Thermometers
• Moisture Meters
• On-Board Diagnostic Code Readers
• Radon Gas Monitors
• Soil Meters
Each device is available to check out for three weeks at a time and, if not immediately available, can be put on hold online or by visiting the information desk at any FCPL branch. More information about each of these devices can be found here.
After all, why buy it when you can borrow it.
Along with the meters and readers, the Library of Things is home to many other borrowable items that go beyond the bounds of traditional library materials, such as artwork, binoculars, board games, book discussion kits, Connect Chromebook Kits, Conserve Energy Kits, Hands-On History kits, Launchpad tablets, nature backpacks and thermal cameras.
To learn more about the materials available through the Library of Things, visit our Library of Things LibGuide.
It’s Not Too Late To Get Your Flu Shot
National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 4 – 8, is an annual reminder that it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.
Different flu viruses circulate each year and the protection you get from vaccination decreases over time. Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to reduce your risk of getting the flu.
The Fairfax Health District is experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness with more visits to emergency departments and urgent care centers for fever (100.4°F or greater) and cough and/or sore throat. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assessments and data since the beginning of the 2023-24 season, influenza activity will likely continue to increase into December and follow similar levels of severity as pre-COVID flu seasons.
Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from serious illness caused by flu. If you do get the flu, it can help make your symptoms less severe and reduce the risk that you are hospitalized or even die. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections and sinus infections.
People 6 months and older should get vaccinated against flu. For those who are at greater risk for severe flu complications, it is especially important to make time to get a flu vaccine, if you haven’t already. Some examples of people at higher risk of flu complications include:
• People 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu compared to young, healthy adults. This is in part because of changes in immune defenses with increasing age.
• If you are pregnant, you are at higher risk of potentially serious flu complications because of changes to your immune system, heart, and lungs. Flu may also be harmful for a developing baby.
• Children younger than 5 years old—especially those younger than 2 years—and children with certain chronic health conditions (like asthma and diabetes), are at higher risk of developing potentially serious flu complications. Other children can still get very stick from flu, and they can spread it to people at higher risk.
• People with chronic health conditions, some disabilities, and cancer, are at higher risk of developing potentially serious flu complications, and the flu can worsen these underlying medical conditions.
• Certain groups of people, including certain racial and ethnic minorities, experience an unequal burden of severe flu outcomes. Long standing social and health inequities likely contribute to this. Learn more about Health Equity and Flu.
Find more information so you can take steps to prevent flu:
• See more information about flu vaccines this season.
• Find flu vaccine near you at vaccines.gov.
• Learn about more ways to prevent flu and other respiratory viruses.