Kanawha County is blessed with a first-rate public library system. It is staffed by professionals. It reaches communities all over the county. It moves and changes with the times.
One reason for the quality is that, for most of the past 70 years, the county has had a reliable funding mechanism for its library. The most recent form is a five-year renewable levy. It is time to renew it now.
On the ballot, the library levy is listed under the Kanawha Board of Education, because the school board, which has the authority to tax, agrees to use some of its excess levy capacity for the library. That is fitting. Libraries are all about education. Some library branches are in schools. Libraries certainly support the work of formal education that goes on in schools.
The Kanawha County Public Library also is a resource for homeschoolers, and for people of all ages who continue their lifelong education with the help of its resources and librarians.
As needs have changed, so have the library’s services. People use it now to get online, fill out job applications, educate themselves for work, but still to find murder mysteries, Westerns, romances or sci-fi, sometimes as e-books or audiobooks.
The question before voters is not a tax increase. Voters would pay the same taxes as currently exist. The funds operate branches all over the county and also support the South Charleston and Nitro public libraries. The levy is not for building an extension to the new Main Branch. That’s a separate (and worthy) fundraising project.
The Kanawha County Public Library is one of the amenities that makes Kanawha County a good place to live. We urge everyone to vote for the levy in support of public libraries.