Barbour library directors ask for help

Two Barbour County library directors are seeking help from local governments in an effort to avoid seeing a reduction in state funding in the next fiscal year.

Because of changes to the state’s formula used in funding local libraries, both the Philippi and Belington libraries will be required to seek additional revenue from the Barbour County Commission, the Barbour County Board of Education or their local city councils.

Leaders with both the Philippi and Belington libraries are looking for ways to build the required funds for the upcoming fiscal year by June 30, so that the libraries’ state funding is not reduced. If either library falls short of meeting its locally required funds, its state allocation could be reduced by the same amount of money the library could not raise. Both library directors requested additional help from the Barbour County Commission on Monday to prevent that reduction in funding in the next fiscal year.

The library directors have said that the two public libraries are required to match all of the state funds provided to the libraries, and at least half of the matching funds must come from tax-based sources. The remainder can come from revenue generated from other sources, such as library fines, donations, fundraisers or by other similar opportunities.

“We do pursue other avenues. Unfortunately, our community participation money was way down,” Belington Public Library director Tammy Smith said, adding that funds she usually receives from other sources have dropped in addition to the increase in funds that need to be matched for this year.

The Philippi Public Library will receive $48,594 in state funds if it can generate another $2,500 by the end of June.

“If we don’t match it by $2,500, we will lose $2,500 (in state funds next year),” Philippi Public Library director Judy Buckner Larry said.

Larry said her library already has received $1,000 from the Barbour County Board of Education, $2,500 from the Commission, and more than $27,000 from Philippi City Council. She said that any Community Participation grants received by the library cannot count toward the state’s matching requirements.

The Barbour County Board of Education also contributed $1,000 to the Belington Public Library. Chuck Foley, the Barbour County administrator, said that the Belington Library received $2,000 from the county commission. The Belington library received $5,000 from the town of Belington, according to figures at the Belington City Hall.

Smith did not say how much she would be receiving from the state. She said that the Belington Library needs to match an additional $4,827.

“If we lose that, even the money that we raise that would count toward the other half of (the required fund) matching wouldn’t count,” Smith said.

The libraries’ directors asked the county commissioners Monday for the additional help. The commissioners did not make a decision regarding the request.

The commission already has contributed funds to the libraries this fiscal year and is helping with an additional $3,000 to be divided among three participants competing in a 5-kilometer run and walk later this year. Both libraries participate in the event.

“We appreciate the money you gave us this year, but we do think we’re going to have a shortfall,” Larry said to the commissioners.

Larry said she is unable to organize any last-minute fundraisers because of continued painting and other maintenance work within the library. She is asking for help from the public as well.

Smith said the Belington Library will be having a book and hot dog sale Saturday as part of an annual fundraiser. Smith said this event is one of the largest fundraisers for the small library.