Introduced Version Senate Concurrent Resolution 15 History

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scr15 intr

(By Senators White, Unger, McCabe, Jenkins, Kessler and Plymale)

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the funding of public libraries in West Virginia.

Whereas, Public libraries are most important to our state, providing numerous services, including books, computers, reading programs, literacy programs and meeting places and, in small communities, the only place people can get high speed internet service. Libraries are one of the most important services in our communities, yet underfunded in most communities in West Virginia; and
Whereas, Compared to other states, West Virginia dramatically underfunds public libraries. To meet the average of other states, funding would have to increase approximately from $13 per capita to the national average of approximately $33.87 per capita in our local communities; and
Whereas, Funding for public libraries in West Virginia is very uneven with a range of funding from all sources as low as $5.56 per capita in Clay County to $36.94 per capita in Kanawha County, the latter exceeding the national average of per capita funding; and
Whereas, West Virginia must adopt a new formula that better represents the needs and fiscal capacities of the local communities that would better distribute state and local funding for public libraries; and
Whereas, Funding for public libraries that addresses sources from state government, all local government, county commissions, boards of education and municipalities is necessary in order to assure the continuation of public libraries. Experience has shown that in times of financial downturns more citizens visit their local libraries and decreases in funding do not result in decreases in the use of these libraries; and
Whereas, Greater funding is needed to allow most public libraries to at least approach the national average of per capita funding to support their systems and keep their doors open to the public; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the funding for public libraries in West Virginia; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2010, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
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