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Area library seeks essential funding

By Staff | Feb 2, 2011

With funding options in question Librarian Roseanne Eastham of the Tyler County Public Library in Middlebourne, is appealing to local officials for help to keep the library alive.

According to West Virginia legislation governing public libraries, local funds received in previous year must be equal to or exceed the maximum grant-in-aid established for the library. Additionally, local non-tax based funds used as matching funds cannot exceed the amount of local tax based funds.

The Tyler County Library will receive $16,866 grants-in-aid for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. Based on this legislation, the library should be getting the same amount from the local taxing authorities. This is not the case.

In 2010, The Tyler County Board of Education pledged $7,000 to the library. The Tyler County Commission has allocated a sum of $2,000. The Town of Middlebourne, deemed the governing and establishing body for the library, did not provide any funds. This amount is almost $8,000 short of the library’s monetary objective for operation.

The legislation suggests that money from the Stealey-Green fund should be used for items above and beyond what it normally takes to operate the library, though a portion of it can be put toward the grant match.

Eastham will appear before the Board of Education at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7; the Tyler County Commission at 9 a.m. on Feb. 8; and the Middlebourne Council at 7 p.m. on Feb. 14 to request an increase in the funding currently allotted for the libraries in Tyler County. “The library is not just a storage house for books,” she explained. “Many people are using the library to take advantage of online classes, look for jobs and broaden their knowledge.”

Eastham said she feels these resources will help the county in the long run by providing a more knowledgeable workforce for employers and ultimately bring new business into the area.

She noted libraries also provide a low-cost way for residents to learn and entertain themselves in hard economic times.

The public library also provides a program to promote reading. “We currently provide craft nights six times per month, seven months out of the school year for elementary school aged students,” Eastham said. “If funds were increased, we could provide more services to the youth of the county and prepare them to take the county into the future.”

The library in Middlebourne serves as a library for the preschool students as well. Eastham commented, “The preschool teachers brings their students over once a month an hour before the library opens and we read a story and do a craft. The board is essentially using this library as the preschool library.”

Although children are not permitted to take books from the premises, the teachers often check books out for classroom use.

Additionally, the Tyler County Public Library offers many databases for people to use. The Learning Express web site, which gives patrons the opportunity to take practice college entrance exams, occupational practice exams, and many other skill-building exams, is also sponsored by the public library.

Monthly adult books discussions and the summer reading program round out the library’s many offerings.

Currently, the books at the Tyler County Library are kept in tight quarters. Eastham and Library Board President Carol Ann Kucharski are working with the USDA Rural Development to obtain funding for an addition which will make it easier to house the books and facilitate the needs of the community. The proposed 38 x 48 foot annex is estimated to cost $300,000. Once it is completed, the old section of the building will be utilized as a children’s library.

The Tyler County Public Library is open Monday from 11-7 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 11-5:30 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday from 11-5 p.m.; and Saturday from 10-3 p.m.

For more information regarding the Tyler County Library, call 304-758-4304, or visit the library’s web site at middlebourne.lib.wv.us.