UX Librarian: How is the Pioneer Memorial Public Library Funded?

Monday, March 2, 2015

How is the Pioneer Memorial Public Library Funded?

The Pioneer Memorial Public Library has been an official public library since 1985 when it was started by a few local residents passionate about books, reading, and literacy. This year we celebrate 30 years of providing high-quality library services in Harman, West Virginia. Since the partial closing of Harman School many local residents have expressed concern over the future and funding of the Pioneer Library. So, how is the Pioneer Library funded? Where does the money come from? As a public library, our funding and budget should be provided as part of the public record. After all, part of our funding comes from taxpayers therefore everyone should know about where the Pioneer Library money comes from and where it goes.

Public Funds

The Pioneer Library receives $7,500 per year from the Randolph County Commission as part of their commitment to libraries and literacy in our county. All five libraries in Randolph County receive the same amount from the County Commission every year. For the last several years, the Pioneer Library has received $10,000 from the Randolph County Board of Education. This is levy money that runs out in a year or two. We do not expect a levy to be reinstated at the end of this special funding.

The Pioneer Library receives approximately $11,834 per year from the West Virginia Library Commission in Charleston, WV. This is money that we receive from the WVLC that makes sure the Pioneer Library (and all state libraries that receive federal funding) are compliant with certain rules and regulations. For example, did you know that the library goes through an independent audit every year? This helps to keep the library fiscally responsible and honest. It is also law that we have an audit every year and the WVLC confirms that audit by receiving a copy of it every year. The money we receive annually from the WVLC is based on the US Census that is carried out every ten years. At last census count our service population is 2,323 people and we receive a certain amount of funding per capita based on that number. (That's about $5.09 per person.)

We also receive funding from fundraising. The Pioneer Library has its largest fundraiser annually at the Run For It in Tucker County. Every year, Team Pioneer brings home enough money to feel secure for another year. We also co-sponsor a chicken roast that same day at the Leaf Peepers Festival (with Tucker County Rotary) and also get funds from that event. We also receive donations from private individuals throughout the year who are committed to supporting the efforts of the Pioneer Library. But wait, there's more! We also sell used books on Amazon to raise funds and we get funds back from dedicated library users who have registered their Kroger card with the library as recipient of 5% cash back.


The Pioneer Library employs a director who works 30 hours per week and another part-time library worker. The total amount paid to two library workers is less than $20,000 per year. The entire budget of the Pioneer Memorial Public Library is slightly less than $35,000 per year. The remaining funds go to utilities, supplies, insurance, and books. The entire book buying budget for the year is about $2,000.

So, the Pioneer Library is not officially part of Harman School even though we are located on school grounds. We are also not part of the Randolph County Board of Education. The Pioneer Library is considered a nonprofit quasi-governmental organization with obligations to the Randolph County Commission (they approve and appoint our board members) and the West Virginia Library Commission. Both library workers are employees of the Pioneer Library and no other entity or organization.


The Pioneer Memorial Public library has lots of oversight. The real bosses of the library are the patrons who use it regularly. We try to listen to suggestions and ideas that come from the people who use the library the most. As a Public Library we want to please the public. We are overseen by a five member Board of Trustees who meet six times a year to go over finances, events, trends, and other important issues that face the library. We are an affiliate library of the Upshur County Library who administers our payroll and hires an independent auditor for the library every year. We also have to complete an annual report that goes to the West Virginia Library Commission. This annual report is valuable in that it can reveal important circulation and collection development statistics. This is also part of a a required report that the WVLC is required to fulfill to maintain federal funding. There is a layered level of library relationships and monitoring that help to keep high standards for West Virginia libraries

In conclusion, the Pioneer Memorial Library is not an wealthy institution. We scrimp and save pennies to provide the very best for our small service population. We are also an official United States Public Library that is not part of the Randolph County Public Schools. We get lots of help and oversight from the West Virginia Library Commission and the Upshur County Public Library. Even if Harman School closed, the Pioneer Memorial Public Library would still exist and continue to function as such. So stop on by the Pioneer Memorial Public Library in beautiful downtown Harman, West Virginia, to check us out. How may we help you?

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