SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — The Summersville Public Library could further reduce their hours open to the public due to budget constraints, placing an additional strain on residents without internet in their home and students who need to use the library for work.
Due to budget cuts by the Nicholas County Commission and a gradual reduction in funds from the New River Technical Institute, Library Director Sarah Palfrey said these changes may become a reality down the road.
“We were completely zeroed out by the Nicholas County Commission, which is a loss of 13 percent of our budget,” Palfrey said.
New River Technical institute will provide funding for the next two fiscal years, but eventually those thousands of dollars they provide will be reduced to nothing.
Palfrey said they need to find a way to eventually replace lost funds, because the library’s hours need to reflect the needs of people who work and go to school.
“People work well beyond nine to five,” she said. “So we need to be open more hours than that.”
“Being open 40 hours a week is not enough.”
Palfrey is always happy to accept money from private donors, but said that won’t be reliable in the long-term.
“We never say no to a donation, but some years are better than others,” she said.
One 2013 study showed that one in three homes in West Virginia don’t have a computer. Though many generally do have internet access, Palfrey is concerned that reducing the library’s hours of operation would still impact plenty of people negatively.
“There’s a large number of people in this county that do not have access to the internet,” she said. “I know a lot of people say ‘who needs a library? We have the internet.’ But there’s a lot of people that don’t even have internet.”
The Summersville Library currently operates 55 hours during the week and is closed on Sunday.