November 1, 2014

Court Decision, Levy Defeat Mean Drastic Cuts for WV’s Kanawha County Library

Large-scale staff cuts, branch closures and slashed program offerings are all on the table as the Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston—widely considered West Virginia’s best library system and the state’s largest—works to reshape itself after a state Supreme Court decision permanently altered KCPL’s annual funding mechanism and created a $3 million budget gap that will require the library to cut spending by 40 percent in 2014.

Best Small Library in America 2013: Southern Area Public Library, WV

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The transformation of this smallest library in West Virginia convinced the judges that it is the Best Small Library in America 2013, cosponsored by Library Journal and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Though it has only a service population of 498, the activity, energy, growth, and community engagement of this library helps it rank with the state’s best and brightest. The library is directed by the dynamic Mary Beth Stenger, whose 20-hour workweek probably means she gives three times that much effort to SAPL, Lost Creek, and the surrounding area.