State League Announces Position on Library Financing

Today the League of Women Voters of West Virginia announces the results of its latest study, titled Public Library Financing in West Virginia. Nancy Novak, League President, said “this position is the result of members’ two-year study analyzing the financing system of West Virginia’s public libraries.” Subsequent discussion was conducted by local leagues in Jefferson County, Huntington, Morgantown, and Wood County, as well as by members-at-large in other regions of the state.

The League study found that the financing system varies greatly among the counties in the state, with funds coming from sources such as race tracks, local excess levies, boards of education, and from the WV Library Commission. Public Libraries are organized and financed at various levels, with little uniformity among them.

The League’s findings will enable members across the state to lobby their local and state government officials for an increase in public funding. Novak stated that the League of Women Voters believes:

  • that public libraries are essential in communities for both children and adults. Therefore, the primary sources of funding for West Virginia’s public libraries should be tax based. This tax-based funding should be adequate, predictable and sustainable.
  • that there should be a basic state funding level for WV public libraries, based on the population of the area served by the library.
  • that additional local tax-based funds should be provided from those agencies which authorize libraries; that is, County Commissions, municipalities and/or County Boards of Education.

State options the League supports include adjusting the local share of the school aid formula to fund public libraries in each county, and designating a state tax or percentage of a tax for public libraries.

Local options the League may support include requiring the above local governing authorities to contribute a given percentage of local property taxes for libraries, and increasing the property tax rate with the resulting revenue going to libraries.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that works to inform the public of important governmental issues and encourages citizens to participate in determining public policy.

For further info contact:

Nancy Novak, President,
League of Women Voters of West Virginia
(304) 295-8215

Renny Smith
(304) 876-2583