CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The remaining primary sources of funding for the Kanawha County Public Library -- the city of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission -- do not have plans to follow in the county Board of Education's footsteps by pulling funding, but the library's financial fate is still unclear.
By law, a library cannot tax the public directly but can receive funding from three entities that can tax: local boards of education, municipalities and county commissions.
In 1957, a special act was passed mandating that Kanawha's school board set aside a portion of its budget for the public library. Nine other counties have had similar laws.
Last week, the state Supreme Court struck down the 1957 special act, saying it was unconstitutional because it creates a lack of uniformity in the state's educational financing system.
In Kanawha County, that means if the school board chooses to pull all of its funding, the library will lose about 40 percent of its roughly $8 million annual budget.
Right now, contributions from the County Commission make up another 40 percent of the library's budget, while tax revenues from the city cover the remaining 20 percent.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper both said they do not intend to ask the court to be freed from funding the library. Both also agreed that the library can't survive on its own.
"I didn't recommend that the commission involve themselves in this lawsuit because, frankly, it would destroy the library system," Carper said. "This has done incredible harm to the library system. If they didn't have funding from us, there'd be no library."
Jones said in his nearly 10 years in office, the city of Charleston has given about $9 million to the library.