We were notified last week that New River Community and Technical College would not fulfill their financial agreement with the Summersville Public Library for the current budget year or the next one. Higher education took a mid-year budget cut from the state of West Virginia this year, tough choices were made by institutions across the state, but this cut comes to us with just two months left in our budget year. Two months is not a lot of time to absorb a 8.5% cut. After careful consideration we have decided to reduce our hours from 55 to 48 a week. It is important to be available outside of the regular 9-5 work hours as much as we can while balancing our budget constraints. Monday and Tuesday we will be open from 9-7, Wednesday – Friday 10-6 and very reluctantly we have reduced our Saturday hours to 10-2. Changes go into effect Monday May 9, 2016. This cut comes on top of being completely eliminated from the budget of the Nicholas County Commission.
The City of Summersville and the Nicholas County Board of Education have increased their funding and grants to help but even with that support, there has been a 20% reduction of previous years budgets.
A number of programs that were scheduled for May and June have also been cancelled, including our Star Wars Day May the 4th be With You and the Mother’s Day Tea-Party. The library has secured grant funding for most of our planned Summer Programs, details on programs and schedules will be available soon.
Libraries survive when local governments fund them, libraries transform communities when the people demand they be adequately funded. A recent study found that library use across the country is declining, but not because of the internet or e-books but because of budget cuts. Communities that support libraries financially grow and usage increases.This is a win for the community as a whole.
Families have access to early literacy programs like storytime for their children, Internet and computer access to file e-government forms, apply for jobs, space to start their businesses, go to college, explore an interest or discover a new passion. What West Virginia needs now, more than ever, are people willing to try new things, innovators, entrepreneurs, risk takers. The library plays a very important role in that ecosystem, but it can’t support these efforts if we can’t keep our doors open, computers in good working order and put some books on the shelves (or your devices) and staff, hard working, dedicated staff that provide hours of assistance to all kinds of people everyday.
We need your support, financially, emotionally and maybe most importantly with your ballot. Give in whichever way works best for you and your family. Can’t write a check or attend a fundraiser? Neither can I, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an advocate for your library. Tell an elected official, or one hoping to be elected what matters to you, they work for us, the voters. Come to a program, be a part of your library! We have grant funding for a variety of programs over the next few months. Want to stay up to date with what’s happening? Signup for our monthly newsletter. We hope to hear from you, and about how the library supports you and your family. I can cite a long list of statistics about library usage but none of them make the same impact as your stories. Tell us, tell them #librariestransform