"We're just continuing to carry on as we usually do and trying to give the best service possible," she said. "We need to find funding to keep all of our branches open, period."
Jennifer Sanney-Iams, 30, returned a large stack of books to the library Monday afternoon. She grew up using the local library and now regularly takes her three children, ages 2, 3, and 9.
"We're all avid readers. I've been here from the time I could walk," she said. "It's one of the hubs of St. Albans. There aren't many places left like this."
Sanney-Iams is a high school teacher and said she worries about how the loss of a library would affect education for local children.
"This is a place where our kids can go to match resources that the schools can't. Without that resource, we lose a lot of our textual references," she said. "Our kids can look up anything on the Internet, but to actually immerse themselves in a book -- that's a dying art. The faster they cut the libraries, the more lost it will become."
While school board members have suggested other options for funding, such as excess levies or support from the Legislature, Engelbert said it is unclear whether those options would pan out.
A bill was recently introduced that, if passed, would require each county school board in the state to set aside a percentage of their budget for libraries.
"The Board of Education may feel that the Legislature is going to come riding in and fill the void they have created, but the state has frozen hiring and directed all of their agencies to reduce their budgets," Engelbert said. "To suggest that a funding source is going to be found in the Legislature is, at best, unlikely."
While the library cannot sponsor a levy to get revenue from taxpayers, other entities can host one on their behalf. That includes the school board, the Kanawha County Commission and the City of Charleston.
"Say the Board of Education was to run an excess levy on behalf of the library. The funding wouldn't kick in until July of 2014. So, at best, we'd have an entire year where we're looking at this big hole in our budget," Engelbert said. "We are committed to doing as little harm to our services, our patrons and our staff as we can.
"We will manage this the best we [can] until there's some relief in sight," he said. "It will almost certainly depend on some form of excess levy election, which will have to pass."
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.