Last month, The Pocahontas Times reported on a July 18 County Commission meeting which included a discussion about funding for the Pocahontas County Free Libraries. The discussion involved WV tax code 7-18-14, regarding permissible expenditures of hotel occupancy tax allocations by County Commissions. In an effort to keep the community informed, I wanted to give an update.

The allocations under this code make up more than 50 percent of the county library budget. It is our largest single source of funding and without it services across the county would have to be decreased.

At the County Commission meeting, the Commissioners voiced support for the libraries and reiterated their desire to work together to find solutions so library services would not be interrupted. We appreciate their support, as well as the backing of the community, particularly those members who came to the meeting in solidarity over concerns about library funding and those who have stopped by since, voicing their support.

Since that meeting, a letter has been submitted on behalf of the County Commission to the West Virginia Attorney General’s office seeking clarification on the code and whether it supports continued funding for our library system. The code states that, “the Legislature finds that public financial support should be provided for constructing, equipping, improving and maintaining projects, agencies and facilities which promote recreation and tourism”. The Pocahontas County library system is much more than books on shelves, we have a vibrant library community that actively assists tourism directly as well as helps to create healthy communities in which recreation and tourism can flourish. In addition to this letter the Pocahontas County Free Libraries Board of Trustees, library supporters and partners, along with the County Commission are actively collecting information and planning the next steps. The topic will be on the County Commission agenda again for their September 5 meeting.

At this point all five libraries are continuing with regular hours and services. The libraries’ commitment, as stated in our mission, “to meeting the informational needs of all the citizens of Pocahontas County and its visitors,” remains unchanged.

Just as a reminder we offer more than 87,000 materials available to check-out; programs for adults and children; technology services; meeting room space and much more.

You can check out a more complete list of our services at pocahontaslibrary.org, or better yet – stop by and see us.