With the presentation of a $1,700 check, the White Sulphur Springs Rotary Club got this year’s library fund drive off to a fast start, but there’s still a long way to go.
Although the White Sulphur Springs Public Library has a lean annual operating budget of $85,000, it cannot rely on tax-based funding alone, director Joann Hartzell explained.
“We receive tax-based support, but it is not always enough to meet our needs,” Hartzell said, noting funding comes from state, county and local coffers. “The state provides us with close to $30,000, but half of that has to be matched with local funds. The local money shows the community is indeed interested and cares about this facility.”
The library hopes to raise an estimated $28,000 in its annual fund drive in order to meet the necessary match to draw down state funding and to meet other needs.
“We are financially reliant upon donations from the public,” Hartzell said. “That’s why we hold used book sales and charge to make copies or send faxes.”
She said the library also has a nice meeting room that can be rented for private functions, which is another way operating money can be raised throughout the year.
“We don’t want to charge, but we have to do so in order to meet our budget,” she said.
The library’s website (whitesulphursprings.lib.wv.us) offers an ambitious vision statement that includes maintaining the facility as a “vibrant cultural hub with expanding programs (and) with superior staffing.” It also calls for more children’s programs, adult reading opportunities and literacy incentives for young people.
“All of the programs we put on require motivated, competent staffing, program planning and execution,” the website notes.
“We’re not just books,” Hartzell emphasized. “We are computers. We are audiobooks and DVDs. We are a place where people can gather.”
Housed in the recently named Katherine Coleman Johnson building, just off Main Street, the library is an information center for a service region that includes just under 6,000 people. That region encompasses not just the town of White Sulphur Springs, but also communities along W.Va. 92, the Big Draft area and the unincorporated community of Caldwell.
Many of the library’s rural patrons have no broadband access at their homes. Hartzell said she has heard heartwarming testimonials from…