Patrons of the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling are hoping and praying that the Ohio County Board of Education will continue its tradition of providing a significant portion of the operating funds for the local library.
Recently, the West Virginia Supreme Court struck down a special funding formula by which school systems in certain counties had been required to share tax revenue with the public libraries in those counties. The Ohio County facility is one of the libraries affected by this court ruling.
Currently, the Ohio County Public Library receives approximately 40 percent of its annual funding through the allocation from the school board, director Dottie Thomas indicated.
Funding is already secure for library operations for this year. We imagine that the library's board of trustees will be talking with leaders of Ohio County Schools regarding funding in subsequent years.
Speaking at the library's Lunch With Book session Tuesday, Feb. 26, Wheeling resident Kate Quinn put in a plug for continued funding of the facility. Praising the local library, she said, "We are the best in the state." Audience members nodded their agreement with that assessment.
Quinn commented, "Education is just not in the schools. It's in this library."
Patrons of the Ohio County Public Library have often noted the importance of the library's programming for children and for adults. The weekly Lunch With Book program and the ongoing People's University series of courses provide educational, informative and entertaining opportunities for area residents. All of the programs are open to the public, free of charge to patrons.
The library remains a valuable asset to the community, through the circulation of books and electronic material, through the aforementioned programs, and for its research options and online resources. On any given day, visitors will see people conducting research, looking up books, reading periodicals and using the banks of computers. In the late afternoon and evening hours, many of the computer users at the library are students who are doing online research and/or writing papers for school assignments. Even in this so-called digital age, the reality is that a number of students do not have access to online resources in their homes.