Library Services For Two Pocahontas County Elementary Schools May Get Cut
Marlinton, WV – Without an infusion of money from the Pocahontas County Board of Education, the McClintic and Hillsboro libraries may have no choice but to cut off library services to elementary school children next March. Allen Johnson, Director of the Pocahontas County Free Libraries, says that’s not meant as a threat, just a reflection of the reality of funding the school programs.
Currently, the McClintic library in Marlinton, and the Hillsboro library provide library books and other services to the Marlinton and Hillsboro elementary schools. Sue Ann Heatherly, Chairwoman of the Library board, says while this is not a mandated service, it is a valuable one.
“These services are not just come on over and check out books” she says. “It’s an educational program to get them interested in reading, to get them interested in information. You know, reading scores are number one when you’re talking about educational attainment, how we fit in with the rest of the world. Reading is number one, then comes math, then comes everything else.”
This partnership’s been in place for several years. The funding provided by the Pocahontas BOE was once as high as $59,000.00 per year, but for the last three years has been only $24,000.00 per year. Johnson says they need a minimum of $36,000.00 to pay for the elementary programs, and the libraries can no longer afford the $12,000.00 needed to subsidize the amount provided by the BOE.
In May of 2010 Johnson had suggested an increase in funding to $40,000.00 from the BOE. The BOE came back with the offer of $24,000.00, with the possibility of pledging more after new school Superintendent CC Lester got settled in. However, at a meeting between Johnson and Lester in October, Lester told Johnson that the school board had no money to increase funding for the libraries. The BOE has had to pay with much needed repairs and upgrades at county schools this year.
The library board voted to cut off the elementary school services as of March 11th, 2011 unless they receive more funding from the Board of Education.
In other business, the library board voted to extend the deadline for the Linwood library to reach a fundraising goal of $10,000.00. The Snowshoe Foundation has pledged to match that amount once Linwood reaches that goal.
Allan Johnson says plans are moving forward on the Durbin library. Builder Clay Carter is working on building plans and they hope to break ground on the project early next year as soon as the weather breaks. Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity has pledged to help put up the walls once the project reaches that point. He says once the walls and roof are up, they should still have about $30,000.00 left to work on the interiors.
The library board also had their second reading of the severe weather policy and discussed a draft of a policy for library patron behavior. Green Bank librarian Jane Mospan reported that the proceeds from the Dunmore Christmas bazaar were given to that library this year.