Libraries thankful for needed funding
This is an important time for local library funding in Jefferson County.
In March of this year, the Jefferson County Commission approved an increase in library funding by a total of $80,000 – $20,000 for each of the four Jefferson County libraries for fiscal year 2017. In December of last year, the Board of Education excess levy, which included a 50% increase in public library funding, was passed overwhelmingly by the voters of our county. In a time when shrinking budgets are commonplace, we would like to thank our local funding authorities for recognizing that libraries are essential components of our communities valued partners worth increased funding.
As librarians, we know that libraries build good citizens. Our neighborhoods are strengthened through the benefits our services provide to the community and our patrons. With these much needed additional funds from our local public authorities, we can more effectively engage our citizens with new and expanded programming for all ages and build on our existing collections and materials. Increased funding will also allow our libraries to increase hours of operation to accommodate our working population.
What’s more, it will now be possible for our libraries to better keep pace with the nonstop onslaught of new technologies and provide our staff with the necessary tools and training to educate our digitally interested patrons.
In a time when some would argue that libraries are becoming obsolete, when we see the role of libraries as undervalued and, at times, under fire, we want to thank the Jefferson County Commission and the Board of Education for recognizing that libraries are more than just books. Libraries are vital community builders. They are cultural centers for diverse populations and champions of the very young. Libraries are more important than ever, and we are grateful for your support.
Gretchen Fry, Director, Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library
Marcella Genz, Director, Charles Town Library
Hali Taylor, Director, Shepherdstown Public Library
Dana Jenkins, South Jefferson Public Library