Pocahontas County Libraries expands children’s collection through grants and donations

Pocahontas County Libraries are starting the New Year with a bounty of gifts and donations that will help out operations and provide more choices for check-out, especially for children and young adults.

Vicky Terry, director of Pocahontas County Libraries, said she received three unexpected gifts at the end of 2014 from a foundation in Toledo, Ohio, from a national book website, and from the local Lions Club. Even with the donations, however, the library is still looking for creative ways to support the library programs at Marlinton and Hillsboro Elementary Schools.

The Dorothy Louise Kyler Foundation in Toledo, Ohio recently granted the library $5,000 for children’s materials. The money will be divided between the five libraries in the county with $1,000 to each library.

“It’s exciting, it’s like Christmas. Any time of the year when something like that happens and you get extra funds because what this does is, our book budget for the year is $16,000 – that’s for all five libraries and that’s not very much. So this is just such a huge boost. That frees up more money for adult materials for us. You know, we can spend our $1,000 on kid’s books and then that gives us more money out of the regular operating budget for adult materials, so it’s just a win-win for everybody,” Terry said.

The website, Paperback Swap, donated 750 children’s books to the library system that Terry is now distributing.

“Because we received the 750 credit donation from the members of Paperback Swap, we were able to receive 750 brand new children’s books to put in the libraries so that the kids can check them out,” she said.

The children’s collections are among the most used and need replaced frequently, Terry said.

“You know our kids books get used so heavily. We can pull some of the tattered, well-read, well-loved books and replace them with some new ones,” she said.

“Some of those books are just falling apart. Kids love them so much, and they check them out over and over again, so I’m really kind of excited about going through the collection and pulling some of those old, old books and getting new copies.”

The $100 donation from the Lion’s Club will be used for audio books.

Unfortunately, none of the donations help the situation of helping the library pay for a staff person to provide services to Marlinton Elementary and Hillsboro Elementary schools.

“The Marlinton Elementary School and the Hillsboro Elementary School don’t have libraries in the schools, so they come to the public library for library classes and to check out books and things like that. The funding for those classes is kind of extra, above and beyond our natural, ordinary operating budget.

“So I did partner with the Family Resource Network, and we got a grant to fund the program for three years. Well, this is the last year, so I’m not sure where the money is going to come to fund this program again next year.”

“I really, I desperately want to continue to this program. I really, really need to continue it. Our operating budget just doesn’t allow us. We have such a tight budget right now. To run five libraries, we’re just under $300,000, and that’s not a lot of money. So it’s hard to find a grant that will pay salaries and that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for enough money to pay the salaries of Debbie Johnson who does the McClintic branch, and I’d like to get a more complete program going down in Hillsboro. Something that is much more similar to what we do here at McClintic with the Hillsboro kids,” she said.

“They need those skills. They need to know how to find a book on the shelves and how to search the card catalog when they go on to middle school and high school and college. So it’s important, it’s an important program, and we’ve got to find some more funding somewhere,” Terry said.

We also heard about the Durbin Library that’s planned to open this Spring, and tune in to Allegheny Mountain Radio next week to hear about the Durbin Library opening.

Story By

Kelly Taber

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