Weekly update from Pocahontas County Free Libraries
US should place more emphasis on reading, education
A few days ago a column in the Charleston Gazette by Froma Harrop caught my eye. Her thesis is blunt. ﾓThe United States has shed two million factory jobs since 2007, yet many American companies canﾒt find qualified workers to fill their available openings. Thatﾒs a shocking problem, given the numbers looking for work.ﾔ
Harrop contends that U.S. factories still make ﾓlots of stuff,ﾔ but with highly sophisticated assembly lines.ﾠ Workers in these factory jobs need technical skills such as in computer, welding, machining.ﾠ
The old saying, ﾓa strong back and a weak mindﾔ doesnﾒt cut it anymore. Machines replace the strong back. And education is now essential to replace the weak mind. The good news is that community colleges and workforce programs (such as our own Snowshoe Career Center) can help motivated people to achieve desirable career paths. A key word here, of course, is ﾓmotivated people.ﾔﾠﾠ A self-motivated person will make the personal short-term sacrifices for the long-term gain, and that means acquiring quality education, developingﾠ good work habits, and building experience.
Harrop writes about a pharmaceutics manufacturer in a Cleveland suburb that had 100 openings for jobs paying about $15 per hour.ﾠ 3600 people applied for the jobs, but only 47 were hired.ﾠ One of the qualifiers was that the company required applicants to read and do math at a ninth-grade level. Apparently most applicants failed meeting this standard.
Newspapers in general read at about a fifth grade level. It is important to note that just because someone has completed ninth grade does not mean that he or she has ninth grade reading and math skills. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 39% of eighth graders in West Virginia scored below basic proficiency in math. Thatﾒs about two out of five kids who cannot perform basic math functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers and fractions and decimals. Reading is in similar straits.
I do not blame the schools.ﾠ They can only do so much. Any teacher will say that the greatest influence on a childﾒs educational success is his or her family and home life. Children pick up attitudes.ﾠ In my library post, I watch parents bring their kids to the library, check out books for their children, and talk to our staff about the books their children are reading this summer. Then there are other children in our communities who will not open the cover of a book all summer. Guess which children will be more apt to succeed in life?
There are solutions. Motivated adults can take classes toward a GED diploma, enroll in community college and technical skills courses and take advantage of on-the-job training skills development. Motivated adults can develop quality resumes and references in their present jobs by being dependable, cooperative and hardworking.
Motivated parents can set parameters for their children conducive to creative, disciplined and ultimately enjoyable learning.ﾠ Parenting styles can vary and be successful. Our own children did not have a television in their rooms (perish the thought!) but they did have books, games, puzzles and interactive toys. Our family computer was available for them to do their work, not to play fantasy games. Rather, their fantasy games were played out with Lego sets, tree forts in the woods and developing creative skills in art and music. They read books, we read books to them and we read books ourselves, our homeﾠ a culture of books.
Other parents do things well, yet quite differently. A common key is that they are shaping and motivating their childrenﾠ
toward their futures.ﾠ And those futures include developing strong abilities in reading, writing, math and reasoning.
Audio books are great choices for long rides
I commute to McClintic Library from the Mace/Mingo area, which in good weather is about a 40-45 minute drive.ﾠ This means I have a good chunk of time to devote to listening to audio books.ﾠ I thought Iﾒd share with you some of the better books Iﾒve run across during the past couple of months.
If you listen to books too, you know that the reader can make or break a book.ﾠ It could be a wonderful story, a nail-biting suspense novel, but if the reader is bad, thereﾒs just no getting past it.ﾠ However, if a reader is good, any book is a delight.ﾠ Even books you may never pick up to read can be made fascinating by a talented reader.ﾠ Here are some of my recent five-star audio experiences:
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, and is the story of a young white girl, Eugenia ﾓSkeeterﾔ Phelan, who is just home from college and longs to be a writer.ﾠ She is told by a New York agent to select a topic that is close to her, and she settles on interviewing and then writing about the experiences of the black women who serve as the ﾓhelpﾔ for the white families in Jackson.ﾠ The audio version is performed by four women, and is not to be missed!ﾠ They give life to the characters of this excellent novel.ﾠ
Another treat for me was The Weed that Strings the Hangmanﾒs Bag, the second book in a new mystery series by Alan Bradley.ﾠ (The first book was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.)ﾠ Bradley has given us a delightful character, Miss Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old, precocious poison expert who lives in England in 1950. Flavia goes about solving mysteries in her little village of Bishopﾒs Lacey.ﾠ While Iﾒve heard people say they enjoyed the books, the audio books are such a wonderful listening experience!ﾠ The reader, Jayne Entwistle, does a remarkable job of portraying Flavia and all the folks in Bishopﾒs Lacey.ﾠ I highly recommend these, especially if you are looking for mysteries without the gore and creepiness.ﾠ You know, nice little murders.ﾠ You would enjoy Flavia very much.
Sometimes I listen to a book and think, ﾓI donﾒt think I would have finished this, if I was reading it.ﾔﾠ This was the case when I listened to South of Broad by Pat Conroy.ﾠ The narrator for this book was excellent.ﾠ He kept the characters fresh, and the story just flowed for me.ﾠ I found myself just sitting in my garage after arriving home, listening to ﾓjust one more track.ﾔ
Right now Iﾒm listening to The Passage by Justin Cronin.ﾠ This book had received a lot of pre-publication hype.ﾠ Itﾒs the story of a virus being manufactured by the military that gets out of control, leading to vampire-like creatures on the loose and the end of civilization as we know it.ﾠ Those of you who love post-apocalyptic novels, this will be right up your alley!ﾠ The reader is very good, too.
Before you set out on your next road trip, be sure and stop in for an audio book.ﾠ Itﾒs much better than reading while you drive!
Hammons Family musicians honored at library event
A packed crowd of about 100 people attended Friday eveningﾒs event at McClintic Library. ﾓAcross The Yew Pine: The Hammons Legacy Projectﾔ is a multimedia presentation of photographs, stories and music of a Pocahontas County family that is known and appreciated in far-flung corners of the world. Dwight Diller, also well known for his own ﾓold timeyﾔ traditional banjo and fiddle music, and a close friend of the Hammons beginning in the late 60ﾒs, presented the program with personal appreciation and feeling for the family.
BJ Gudmundsson, who is assisting in the media production end, explained that the project when completed will be available in all West Virginia public, school, and academic libraries. Gail Hatton, who is transcribing the oral stories, sang an acappella rendition of a song sung in the style of Maggie Hammons. Dwight Diller on fiddle and his son, Caleb, on banjo, together performed three tunes.ﾠ A slide show concluded the program with recorded stories, one each by Sherman Hammons, Burl Hammons, Maggie Hammons Parker, and Ruie Hammons.ﾠﾠ Among the many people in the audience were Hammons descendents.
Durbin Days is this week. The Durbin Library Building Committee is continuing to promote the new library to visitors and locals during the many activities. As matters stand, it appears construction might start this summer or early fall. A few important yet anticipated pieces of the financial puzzle need to still line up.ﾠ If so, then the pad will be poured and the ﾓbarn raisingﾔ will commence, with the idea of framing and enclosing the structure. The interior will then be completed during the final phase as further resources come in.
Almost Heaven Habitat For Humanity (Pendleton County) merged on July 1 with Habitat For Humanity (Greenbrier County) and will be developing services for low income people in Pocahontas County.ﾠ The Durbin Library Building Committee has met with Habitat toward obtaining volunteer assistance for some of the initial library construction framing.ﾠ The library is also willing to help with hosting the volunteer groups that will be coming in the years ahead to help on housing projects.
The Linwood Community Library Association continues to work toward stable operational funding for the newly opened branch at the Welcome Center.ﾠ They are hosting a fundraiser Porch Party August 14 that will feature the R&B sounds of Lady D and the Mission. Mark your calendars for this one!
I hope all of you have a nice stack of books to read this summer. And be sure you encourage your youngsters to read, too.
Libraries to offer photography classes
If you have always enjoyed photography, but never really quite understood all those little buttons on your camera, Iﾒm here to tell you that you are not alone.ﾠ Taking a photograph isnﾒt that complicated; taking a really good photograph can be, if you donﾒt know some simple techniques.
Thatﾒs why Iﾒm so excited to announce a Beginnerﾒs Photography Class to be offered by local photographer Mark Poore.ﾠ Mark has been a resident of Pocahontas County for 33 years.ﾠ He started shooting professionally 25 years ago, and has many published photographs and 15 postcards to his credit, not to mention some photography contest wins.
Mr. Poore will teach a two-night workshop for beginners.ﾠ He plans to cover composition, lighting, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and depth of field.ﾠ You will get to know your camera, and then have a chance to shoot some photos for review and critique.ﾠ
The cost of the workshop is only $25, and pre-registration is required.ﾠ Two workshops will be offered: one at McClintic Library on June 21 and June 23, at 6:30 p.m.ﾠ If that time/place isnﾒt convenient, a second workshop is being held at the Linwood Library on June 22 and June 24, again at 6:30 p.m.ﾠ Please stop in to the library of your choice to sign up and pay the registration fee.ﾠ Space is limited, so donﾒt wait!
Local foundations can strenthen community
ﾓLocal foundations are among the most important attributes of strong communities. Weak communities on the other hand typically have few foundation resources.ﾔ
I remember sitting in an office in the inner city of Philadelphia in 1993.ﾠ I was on a graduate class field trip to an agency that had made extraordinary strides in bringing back to life what had been a deteriorated neighborhood. Local foundation support coupled with strong local leadership had made a visible difference. The speakerﾒs statement made a lasting impression on me.
As we all know, West Virginia struggles near the bottom on many economic indices. Some of this might be related to the fact that West Virginia has relatively few dedicated local foundations. The Benedum Foundation is one of these notable few. In recent years the Hollowell Foundation in Lewisburg has provided excellent regional support for modest proposals. And the Snowshoe Foundation is now coming on as an excellent resource for our locale.
Pocahontas County alone has over 80 nonprofit organizations, many of which from time to time seek funding for their projects.ﾠ While raffling off a rifle, or holding bake sales and cake walks, or doing door-to-door solicitation might raise funds for small projects, larger scale developments typically require grant assistance. Finding sources for grants and developing strong grant proposals takes skill and effort.
To that end, Pocahontas Libraries with financial support from the county commission has become a Collaborating Collection of the Foundation Center.ﾠ McClintic Library hosts the collection, which includes excellent print resources and nine dedicated online databases.ﾠ McClintic is one of 6 locations in the state with these resources, the nearest other collections being in Bluefield, Charleston, and Shepherdstown.ﾠ
PCFL and FRN co-jointly hosted grant training workshops on May 17 with over 20 people in attendance. Further workshops for the public will be forthcoming. In addition, the Foundation Center has numerous online training resources at its website at www.foundationcenter.org/ While many online resources are available free to the public, some of the dedicated search engines must be used at McClintic Library.
The Foundation Center databases can also search for individual academic scholarships as well as for grants for individuals pursuing projects such as in the arts.
Strengthening community nonprofit organizations will bolster our county and region. We invite interested people to learn more about the Collaborating Collection at McClintic Library and to avail themselves of this extraordinary service.
Former library board member's legacy will live on
Marvin ﾓButchﾔ Perry died April 25 after a decade-long debilitating illness. His legacy as an active PCFL board trustee during the 1990ﾒs will carry on for generations to come.
Butch was one of the first persons I met in Pocahontas County. In 1974 I was living in Randolph County when I landed a job with the Interagency Council for Child Development office in Marlinton. My co-workers were Walt Weiford and Butch Perry, who incidentally were musicians with a string band called Stompinﾒ Crick. I was invited into the band due to my experience with the String Bass (upright) in orchestra and jazz music. I eagerly took to the Bluegrass and Old Timey music of the new group.ﾠ Butch played harp (harmonica) in the band with enthusiasm and contagious joy. My mindﾒs ear can still hear him playing a rollicking version of ﾓThe Boatman.ﾔ
After a few years I moved away from both the job and the band, but in the early 1980ﾒs our paths crossed again. Butch Perry had a key administrative position with Flour Daniel, the contractor for the bulk of the construction of the Bath County Pumped Storage Project. I worked with Virginia Power at the project. Later the Perry family moved to Saudi Arabia where Butch plied his administrative expertise in the energy industry for several years before returning to Pocahontas County.
In the summer of 1991 Butch Perry was appointed by the County Commission as a Trustee to the Board of the Pocahontas County Free Library. Butch replaced Dede Saffer, who was leaving the board.ﾠ I was also on the board at that time as president. Others on the board included James Landis, Garnet Hoover, and Eugene Simmons. Butch was elected Secretary.
The main challenge facing the library board involved upgrading inadquate facilities. Efforts to build a new library in Marlinton were stalled due to controversy on location.ﾠ A window opened up in Hillsboro, however, with the school board offering their former school bus garage. I remember well how Butch Perry applied himself to the renovation of the Hillsboro facility, working effectively with the architects, contractors, government officials, as well as putting together the financial package. More than anyone, Butch moved the Hillsboro Library building project to successful completion and implementation. Butch was always highly engaged in library responsibilities, a tribute to his love for his native Pocahontas County and his high hopes for its future.
In 1993 I left the library board to accept a graduate school fellowship in Philadelphia.ﾠ Butch Perry remained on the board for the remainder of the decade and was influential in the developmental stages that led to the construction of the new McClintic Library in Marlinton.ﾠ
In 2004, as debilitating illness advanced upon Butch, our old Stompinﾒ Crick band gathered for a 30 year reunion at the Perry home. John Sparks, BJ Gudmundsson, Norris Long, Jim Dolan, Walt Weiford, and our families found our highlight to be Butchﾒs joy in our rusty music.
In mid-April I stopped by Butchﾒs room at the Pocahontas Center and spent a few minutes with him. I prayed, and then left to go back to my library work, my last time to see him. He died a few weeks later. Butchﾒs legacy carries on in the memory of his exceptionally devoted family, his many friends who loved him, and in his dedicated and effective work for his community.
Several donations have come to Pocahontas Libraries in memorial to Butch Perry. Butch and Cathy Michael collected donations from neighbors on Hamilton Hill. Contributions also came from the extended Perry family: Teenie and Roy Gibson; Mary ﾓTootlesﾔ Nottingham; Janet Perry; Duane and Sarah Gibson; Kelly and Steve Green; and Makalea and Rick Gale.ﾠ These are appreciatively received to carry out the vision Butch Perry had for his community libraries.
County libraries have many generous donors
Pocahontas County Free Libraries is appreciative of the generous financial contributions of its many donors. These contributions are a vital part of the funding that enables PCFL to offer quality service. In June PCFL will have its spring fundraiser.
Below are those who have contributed since our fall fundraiser in December. Please note that some funds given to the Hillsboro Friends are not yet listed below. Donations in honor of Mary Willis go to the Linwood Library. Due to space limitations, a later column will list contributions specifically for Linwood Library and Durbin Library Building Fund.ﾠ Contributions in memory of Marvin ﾓButchﾔ Perry, a former key PCFL Board member, will be listed in a later column that reflects upon his significant service to county libraries.
Emery and Rose Anderson; Margaret Baker; Sherman and Mary Aliceﾠ Beard; Peggy Brill; James and Elizabeth Bullard:
Mary Sue and Mike Burns; Capt.Phillip B. Bush, II; Michael Carpenter; Edray CEOS; John and Hayes Eilers; George and Audrey Friel; Christine Glabb; Virgil B Harris, Jr; Daniel and Sue Hollandsworth; Homer R Hunter; Dewey and Diane Hoover; Joseph and June Jonese; Leona M Kenney; Walter R Killinger; Jay Kniceley; Glenn and Katherine Langston; Robert and JoAnn Lister; Elizabeth Little; Jay and Elizabeth Lockman; Ron and Nancy Maddalena; Forrest and Doris McLaughlin; Quincy and Peggy McMillion; Lanty and Janet McNeel; Roger and Kathy Norrod; Pendleton Community Bank; Jane Price Sharp; Martha S. Sharp; Marietta Stemple; Patricia Hefner Tallman; Mr and Mrs Hoil Underwood; Eugene Ward; Donald and Connie Waybright; Oreana White; David and Brenda Williams; Helen Woolridge.
The following donations to PCFL were made in ﾓmemory ofﾔ or dedication toﾔ those whose names appear in parenthesis.
Hope McComb Andrick (Charley and JE McComb); Samuel J. Barlow (Samuel J. Barlow); Luther Beverage (Hillsboro Library); William Buzzard (Loren H. Buzzard); Jack and Carolﾠ Casey (Anna M. Boothe); Mark and Marilyn Clark (Roy M. Rankin); Steve Davis (Mary Davis); Michael Dipasquale (Mary Willis); Katherine Garber (Phyllis Scruggs); Dorothy Garland (In honor of Grace Collins and Memory of Harold Collins); Rick and Sherry Gillett (May Blackhurst Freeland); Leslie Jones Goodall (Christopher Reeser); Yvonne H. Gum (Robert J. and W.B. Gilmore); John and Karen Harris (Virgil and Macel Harris); Linda Hawkins (Christopher Reeser); Sue Hunter (Jennalee Meck); Joe and Becky Judy (May Blackhurst Freeland); Mildred Potter Leffman (Warren Blackhurst); David and Claire Litsey (Mary Willis); Marshall McMullen (Mary Willis); David and Martha Meadows (Mary Ann Eader); Mali Minter (Mary Willis); Martha Mullett (Geraldine B. Dilley); D.C. Offutt (Larry Offutt ); PCHS Class of 1979 (Willie Shank); Carolyn Phillips (George Phillips); Pocahontas Center/Jud Worth (Books on Health for McClintic Library); Mark and Alice Poore (Mary Willis); Tina and Mitch Prinstein (Richard and Henrietta Reigel); Walter Ralston (Green Bank High class of 1946); Dr. Jane Rardin (Jane Price Sharp); Grace Williams Sharpenberg (Parents, E.H. and Rosa Williams); Charles and Carolyn Sheets (Willie Shank); Priscillla Sheets (Bert Sheets); Robert A. Sheets (Mary Willis); Thomas Shrader (Raymond Shrader); Dorothy Sutton (Homer and Evelyn Sutton); Rebecca Tillett (Kay Taylor); Martin and Diane Urchek (Dorothy McLaughlin); Naomi Wenger Waybright (Maudie Wenger); Gil and Mary Willis (Mary Willis); Trudy Wooddell (May Blackhurst Freeland); Jud and Margaret Worth (Mary Willis).
Library Lines: A day in the life of a library
A few weeks ago libraries across the state were invited to take a photo ﾓsnapshotﾔ of activities for one day. These photos were collected as a ﾓday in the life of a library.ﾔ
I wonﾒt go into the details of our ﾓone day,ﾔ however I would like to share a few things that are going on in our five library branches spread about the county. Iﾒll start at the north and work south.
The Durbin Library Building Committee continues to work vigorously on raising funds, gaining commitments from partners, and finalizing building plans. Recently they met with Parks and Recreationﾠ to confirm the partnership. The committee has also met with CVB, Senior Citizens, USDA, state legislators and the U.S. Forest Service. Habitat For Humanity in nearby Pendleton County holds promise to help with a ﾓbarn raising.ﾔ The Upper Pocahontas Community Cooperative as a major local partner is pursuing further funding avenues.
In other Durbin news, the interior space of the present storefront building is being cleared out and reworked with the back space used now as the childrenﾒs room. Additional book shelves are in place.ﾠ
Green Bank Library is gifted with ample yard space. This means more grass to mow, but also provides the opportunity to plant flowers. Jane Mospan, librarian,ﾠ displays pretty flowers along the entryway, a cheerful greeting to all comers. By the way, Green Bank recently did its weekly count of every person who used the library.ﾠ The total Monday through Friday was 248. This figure is used to calculate our annual attendance for library commission statistical purposes.
Linwood Community Library is awash in books. Donated books, many in excellent condition, are filling our newly constructed shelves.ﾠ Cree Lahti, our newest librarian, reports that local folks are checking out books now.ﾠ She is eager as well for community groups to use the spacious facility, the former Snowshoe Welcome Center, which houses the library until a new facility is constructed.ﾠ
Moving south to Marlinton, the McClintic Library recently hosted an ﾓold timey musicﾔ concert for the nearby elementary school third and fourth graders. Pam Lund teaches traditional Appalachian banjo, guitar and fiddle to children and teens at McClintic during the week. Her students aptly performed the concert.
As I write this column on a drizzly Monday morning, more than two dozen adults representing numerous local community organizations are engaged in grant writing workshops in the McClintic Conference Room.ﾠ The parking lot is full. Too full, actually, so I will ask some to park along the side street during their break to give room for our library patrons. A full parking lot is a good problem to deal with, a sign of community vigor.
I just phoned Elwood Groves, Hillsboro Librarian, to see if the installers are working on the new heating/cooling system. ﾓYes,ﾔ Iﾒm told, ﾓThey are hard at work.ﾔ This past winter the old system crashed, necessitating us to cobble together a conglomeration of space heaters until we could prepare plans to replace the failed system.
At our main office, we are preparing for our spring fundraiser campaign, our fiscal year budget and our annual meeting. I look out my window. The sky is gray; green leaves on the tree outside my window are dripping from the rain. I think to myself, ﾓThis is a good place to live, Pocahontas County.ﾔ
Lives of Literary Women event to be held at McClintic Library
Janet Lynn Roseman wrote, in ﾓOn Writing Womenﾒs Autobiography,ﾔ ﾓOur histories, our experiences call to us, always speaking our truths in a deep and resonant voice; they ask us only to listen.ﾠ When women have the courage to write their stories, to write their truths, to address their silencesﾗonly then can their authentic journeys begin.ﾔ
We are going to celebrate women writers on Sunday, May 23, at the McClintic Library from 5:30 to 7 p.m. by presenting ﾓThe Lives of Literary Women.ﾔﾠ This is a presentation highlighting the lives, works and words of famous women writers through the years.ﾠ You will have an opportunity to ﾑmeetﾒ Margery Kempe,ﾠ a woman who lived from 1373 until after 1438, and is considered to be the first woman to write her autobiography in the English language.ﾠ We will hear from the Brontes: Charlotte, who wrote Jane Eyre, and her sister Emily, author of Wuthering Heights. There will be appearances from other female authors, right up to J.K. Rowling, creator of Harry Potter.ﾠ To round off the night, there will also be new works from the voices of the girls from High Rocks Academy.ﾠ It should be an exciting and enlightening evening, and we are so pleased to be working in conjunction with High Rocks and the Greater Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation.ﾠ The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.ﾠ We will also accept donations to benefit the Pocahontas County Free Libraries.
Speaking of famous women writers, I was very pleased to run across two new books, both about our very own Pearl S. Buck.ﾠ One is a novel by Anchee Min, called ﾓPearl of China.ﾔﾠ It is a novelization of Pearl Buckﾒs life in China, and her friendship with a young Chinese girl named Willow.ﾠ The story follows the two girls from their first meeting as children through adulthood, all set against the dramatic backdrop of revolution.ﾠ As a young girl in Maoist China, the author, Min, was forced to denounce Buck; this is her way of giving back to an incredible woman who truly loved the peasants of China. Hilary Spurling will release a new biography on Buck, ﾓPearl Buck in China,ﾔ in early June.ﾠ Previews of this work call it ﾓrivetingﾔ and reviewers believe that this should bring Buckﾒs works back into focus, and to the forefront of the literary world once again.
Iﾒm very anxious to read both of these works; I should note that the Hillsboro library now has two copies of Pearl of China right now, for those of you who may be interested.ﾠﾠﾠI would be interested in hearing from readers: who are your favorite women writers?ﾠ Or is it too difficult to choose?ﾠ Iﾒll close with one more quote, from Joyce Carol Oates.ﾠ ﾓMy love of writing grew out of my love of reading, with which my very life is identified.ﾠ I canﾒt imagine a mental life, a spiritual existence, not inextricably bound up with languageﾅtelling stories, choosing an appropriate language with which to express each story: this seems to me quintessentially human, one of the great adventures of our species.ﾔ
Libraries around the state facing budget cuts
Libraries across West Virginia face a five percent cut in state funding following Governor Joe Manchinﾒs line item veto of the legislative budget.ﾠ Last winter the governor had told many state agencies to prepare for a five percent cut. However, in its passed budget the legislature kept state library funding intact. The governor overruled their budget.
This state aid cut directly impacts Pocahontas Libraries just more than $2,000 for the coming year, because each library system annually receives $4.62 per capita state aid based upon population. The governorﾒs cut reduces this to $4.38 per capita. However, with our county census projected to drop at least 500 people, we could be facing a combined $4,000 or more drop in future years.
Thankfully we have excellent county commission support, investment income from our endowment and generous contributions from our donors.ﾠ We do need more support from the school board as it is questionable that we are even at break-even point for the direct services we provide the elementary schools, let alone our indirect services of year-around availability of books, computers and space for educational pursuit.
Many libraries in West Virginia struggle with little community support. Recent administrative regulations require local government to match state per capita. Some libraries will not receive their full match. In fact, West Virginia has the lowest average local funding for libraries in the United States. Again, Pocahontas Libraries is an exception. And an exception that we believe reveals itself in high quality rural library services.
A few weeks ago a major study came out. Opportunity For All: How The American Public Benefits From Internet Access At U.S. Public Libraries. Let me quote from the Executive Summary conclusion:
The wiring of public libraries has transformed one of the nationﾒs most established community resources into a critical digital hub, where patrons can compete more effectively for jobs, improve their health, find key government services and manage their finances. Computer and internet access allow librarians to go beyond library stacks to connect patrons to all of the resources, services, and tools available online. In a world increasingly defined by technology, the public library is one of the widest bridges to the internet and computers, not only for those who cannot afford their own connection, but for those who find the library is an easier, faster, friendlier or more effective way to use these tools.
Over the years, libraries have made significant investments to keep pace with digital developments, but surging demand quickly wears out equipment, taps available bandwidth and strains library resources. As resources and services increasingly migrate online and devour greater bandwidth, more patrons will need access to fully participate in the digital age. That means libraries will require more resources, not less, to meet this growing need.
Unfortunately, some states are now cutting library budgets, which puts quality access in jeopardy. The situation is worsening because the lingering recession leads state and local governments to cut library funding and libraries to cut hours, services and staffﾗtwo developments that will only lengthen the growing lines of those waiting to use library computers.
This groundbreaking research shows people of all types not only use computers and internet lines at the public library, but they rely on this access. The findings signal this is a moment when federal, state and local governments should invest more, not less, in the computing capacity of the nationﾒs libraries to help advance a wide-range of policy goals.