PCFL to discontinue services to schools
After a long discussion, Pocahontas County Free Libraries board reluctantly decided, barring any change in the budget, they will bring to a close the school programs as of March 11, 2011.
The board of education was unable to give the library board the amount of money it asked for in August.
The BOE allots money to the libraries each year for the services provided to Marlinton Elementary and Hillsboro Elementary schools. This year, the library board asked for $40,000. The BOE was able to give $24,000, the same amount it gave last year. Prior to the library board meeting, school superintendent C.C. Lester said he is still looking for money in the budget for the libraries.
ﾓWe asked them to increase so that we can break even on the salaries and the supplies and things we use for the school program,ﾔ board president Sue Ann Heatherly said. ﾓThe services arenﾒt just ﾑcome over and check out books.ﾒ Itﾒs an educational program to get them interested in reading, to get them interested in information and accessing information and these are skills that we believe are key to being successful.ﾔ
Heatherly added that library services are not mandatory for elementary schools, but the library believes in offering the services to the students.
Prior to the middle school addition at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, the elementary school utilized the Green Bank Public Library. HES has a library in the school, but MES does not.
The board members all agreed the services they give are valuable to the school system and are worth the money they requested.
ﾓWe do for them something that would take them two, maybe more, times as much money to do [themselves],ﾔ treasurer Beth Little said via phone.
ﾓWeﾒre at an impasse where we feel they donﾒt understand what our services are and that may be part of the disconnect, that they think kids are coming over and checking out books,ﾔ Heatherly said.
In defense of the BOE, library board member Mark Clark said he thought their budget wasnﾒt doing well either.
ﾓThe school budget has been getting hit the last few years,ﾔ he said. ﾓThe same time weﾒve seen their contributions for this go down, their budget has been hurt a lot and we were hopingﾅﾔ
ﾓThatﾒs not true,ﾔ Heatherly interjected.
The board said it doesnﾒt want to take services away from children, but they can no longer afford to offer the services.
ﾓI hate that because itﾒs one of the best things we do, provide services to the kids and getting them excited to read,ﾔ Heatherly said. ﾓNot providing these services really goes against our grain.ﾔ
PCFL director Allen Johnson agreed that, although he doesnﾒt want to take away from the students, something needs to be done.
ﾓWe canﾒt really subsidize the school system,ﾔ he said. ﾓI donﾒt want to play the poor game, but we are poorer than they, I mean, as far as salary scales and all that.ﾔ
During the discussion, Johnson presented a draft copy of a letter to the BOE, which states the services to the schools will cease March 11, 2011.
The board decided to have an open house at McClintic Library for the BOE prior to a meeting in order for it to see the services the library offers to the schools.
In other news:
* Construction on the new Durbin Library will commence ﾓonce the weather breaks,ﾔ according to Johnson. He added that Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity has already offered their assistance in the ﾓbarn raising,ﾔ which should take place in May. The project has been nine years in the making.