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A study of Public Library Financing in West Virginia Karen Goff, West Virginia Library Commission (2013) Public Library Funding Review.

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Presentation on theme: "A study of Public Library Financing in West Virginia Karen Goff, West Virginia Library Commission (2013) Public Library Funding Review."— Presentation transcript:

1 A study of Public Library Financing in West Virginia Karen Goff, West Virginia Library Commission (2013) Public Library Funding Review. unding%20Review%20Final.pdf

2 Libraries in WV are underfunded by local sources WV is 7 th in the Nation in its level of state funding of public libraries. WV is 48 th in Nation in total operating library revenue. WV is 49 th in the Nation in local operating revenue per capita from tax sources. WV spends $13.04 in per capita for operations The National average is $32.31 per capita.

3 Cause of underfunding Most area of government in WV are highly centralized, either at the sate, county or municipality level. Pubic Libraries are an exception. Funding comes from a variety of sources. Funding is not adequate to meet the increasing costs of materials and databases as well as funds to preserve or maintain aging buildings.

4 To understand the current mix of library funding across the state, there needs to be an understanding of how WV libraries have been created. There are 3 types of library funding based on the jurisdiction(s) that created it.

5 According to the WV Code (Chapter 10), libraries may be created by local municipalities, school boards, county commissions or any combination of these. See next chart to learn how many libraries were created by BOE’s, County Commissions, and or municipalities.

6 AUTHORITY_Library Systems Board of Education 1 County Commission30 Municipality49 BOE/County/Municipality 9 County/Municipality 6 BOE/Municipality 1 BOE/County 1 TOTAL SYSTEMS97 1 1West Virginia Library Commission Public Library Funding Review August 2013.

7 The first type of funding is local Each library receives funding from their establishing organization—municipality, school boards, county commission or any combination of those three.

8 Second type of funding is Excess Levy Levies place the funding decision in the hands of the voters. The term of the levy is 3 to 5 yrs. Levies can be for the library alone or in conjunction with other agencies such as BOE, parks and rec. or fire and rescue.

9 Excess levies passed by a high percentage of local tax payers for library support can only be initiated by governing authorities (BOE’s, County Commissions, Municipal Councils). Libraries can not initiate a request for a library levy by themselves. 34 of the public library systems have no levy.

10 Problematic As these local library levies have to pass by 60% of the vote, while school levies only need 50 %. The elections are usually off-year elections making it difficult to get the majority of voters out to participate.

11 A third type of funding is Special Laws for 11 Public Libraries These laws were initiated locally and passed by the legislature. The laws provide a millage of county, BOE, and/or municipality taxes to be set aside for libraries.

12 EXCESS LEVIESLIBRARY SYSTEMS No Library Levy34 Systems Board Of Education 35 Systems County Commissions 17 Systems Municipality11 Systems County/BOE 3 Systems

13 Why isn’t Board of Ed. funding adequate? The BOE’s levy funding is a suggestion and not mandatory due to the Kanawha Co. law that was struck down by the WV Supreme Court of Appeals in Feb

14 Local School Boards School Boards are being squeezed by increasing costs. BOE’s that have shared a part of their school levy with public libraries are growing reluctant to continue. Some maintain that school libraries should suffice for the community. However 54% of schools do not have a librarian. And in those schools with a professional 15% of them are part-time.

15 School libraries have a different mission than public libraries. Their mission is to serve the needs of the student body with curriculum support materials and career information. They also try to meet the computer needs of their students.

16 School libraries offer limited access. Most schools have security that discourages use by the public They are only open during school hours. Competition for limited resources is limited to registered students, faculty, and staff.

17 The Public Library mission is broader. It includes Life long learning resource Literacy assistance Help closing the technological divide School preparation for preschoolers Information for seniors ESL classes Public interest programs Local meeting space

18 The WV Library Commission’s role Provides Grants-in-Aid. The current Grants-in-Aid is $5.09 per capita. There are also competitive grants for special projects and capital constructions.

19 WV Administrative Regulation 173 Requires that local tax-based resources equal The Grants-in-Aid for their community. A separate method to retain local tax-based funding requires libraries to maintain the average level of expenditures for the most recent 3 years or be penalized.

20 Failure to meet the above requirements Results in a decrease in funding to those libraries.

21 Local funding is not secure If the tax base of a community is suddenly withdrawn, the library is unable to receive full funding from the Library Commission. If the BOE in these counties chooses not to fund public libraries at the level specified in those laws this will leave these libraries unsure of their future funding. Local Tax based funding provides less than 50% of the total operating revenue in 53 of the 97 library systems.

22 Senate Concurrent Resolution 74 A Legislative joint committee was formed to find a means of providing secure, predictable, and adequate funding for WV’s libraries. The purpose is to set up an interim study of local tax-based funding. There is no current information about this resolution.

23 4 Summary of Public Library Benefits They provide education cradle to grave They provide an intelligent workforce They assist with social issues. They provide access to technology.

24 Public Libraries are an economic and educational necessity. They should receive secure, predictable, and adequate funding. Funding is not adequate to meet the increasing costs of materials and databases as well as funds to preserve or maintain aging buildings.

25 IN SUMMARY: AN IDEAL A funding ideal was offered by California’s Public Library Fund, providing direct state aid to public libraries. “The state [should have an] interest in the general diffusion of information and knowledge through free public libraries; encourage lifelong learning; supplement the system of free public education; help libraries serve as sources of information and inspiration to persons of all ages, cultural backgrounds and economic status; and furnish a resource for continuing education. The funds should assure the availability to every resident of the state an adequate level of public library service regardless of the taxable wealth of the local jurisdiction providing the service.”


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