West Virginia Code
The term "public library" as used in this article shall be construed to mean a library maintained wholly or in part by any governing authority from funds derived by taxation and the services of which are free to the public, except for those charges for which provision may be made elsewhere in this article. The term shall not, however, include special libraries, such as law, medical or other professional libraries, or school libraries which are maintained primarily for school purposes. The term "governing authority" shall be construed to mean county court, county board of education or the governing body of any municipality.
A governing authority either by itself or in cooperation with one or more other such governing authorities, shall have the power to establish, equip and maintain a public library, or to take over, maintain or support any public library already established. Any library established, maintained or supported by a governing authority may be financed either (1) by the appropriation from the General Funds of the governing authority of a sum sufficient for the purpose, or (2) by the imposition of an excess levy for library purposes, in accordance with the provisions of section sixteen, article eight, chapter eleven of this code.
Such sums as are appropriated hereunder may be transferred to the public library board for deposit and disbursement as the public library board shall direct. By such transfer the governing authority designates the public library board as its disbursing agent.
A regional library is a public library established and/or maintained by two or more counties, by action of their governing authorities, under the terms of a contract to which they all agree. The expenses of the regional library shall be apportioned between or among the counties concerned on such a basis as shall be agreed upon in the contract.
The governing authorities which maintain a regional library may contribute the apportioned sum to the regional library board, such contributions to be deposited as the regional library board shall direct and to be disbursed by the officer designated by that board. By such contribution the governing authority designates the regional library board as its disbursing agent.
The governing authority may, in lieu of supporting and maintaining its own public library, enter into a contract with an existing public library and make annual payments of money to such library, whose library materials and services shall be available without charge to all persons living within the area represented by such governing authority. Any school board may contract for school library service from an existing public library which shall agree to furnish books to a school or schools under the terms of the contract.
All money paid to a library under such a contract shall be expended solely for the maintenance and support of the library.
(a) Whenever a public library is established under this article, the governing authority or authorities shall appoint a board of directors with five members chosen with reference to their fitness for such office, from:
(1) The citizens of the library's service area, as determined by the Library Commission; or
(2) The county in which the library is located.
(b) The board of directors for a regional library shall consist of not less than five nor more than ten members, with a minimum of one member from each county in the region. The total number of directors and the apportionment of directors by county shall be determined by joint action of the governing authorities concerned.
(c) The term of office for a director is five years from July 1, following the appointment. Directors may serve until their successors are appointed and qualified.
(d) For a new board of directors under this article, the initial appointment of the directors shall be staggered. Thereafter all appointments shall be for terms of five years.
(e) Vacancies in the board shall be immediately reported by the board to the governing authority and filled by appointment. Vacancies for an unexpired term shall be immediately reported by the board to the governing authority and filled by appointment for the remainder of the term only.
(f) A director may be removed for just cause in the manner provided by the bylaws of the library board.
(g) No compensation shall be paid to any director.
The board of directors of each public library established or maintained under this article shall: (a) Immediately after appointment, meet and organize by electing one member as president and one as secretary, and such other officers as may be necessary. All officers shall hold office for one year and shall be eligible for reelection. (b) Adopt such bylaws, rules and regulations as are necessary for its own guidance and for the administration, supervision and protection of the library and all property belonging thereto as may not be inconsistent with the provisions of this article. (c) Supervise the expenditure of all money credited to the library fund. All money appropriated or collected for public library purposes shall be deposited in the treasury of the governing authority to the credit of the library fund, to be paid out on the certified requisition of the library board, in the manner provided by law for the disbursement of other funds of such governing authority, or shall be deposited as the library's board of directors shall direct and be disbursed by the officer designated by that board, such officer before entering upon his duties to give bond payable to and in an amount fixed by the board of directors of the library, conditioned for the faithful discharge of his official fiscal duties. The cost of such bond shall be paid from the library fund. The books, records and accounts of the library board shall be subject to audit and examination by the office of the State Tax Commissioner of West Virginia. (d) Lease or purchase and occupy suitable quarters, or erect upon ground secured through gift or purchase, an appropriate building for the use of such library; and have supervision, care, and custody of the grounds, rooms or buildings constructed, leased, or set apart for library purposes. (e) Employ a head librarian, and upon his recommendation employ such other assistants as may be necessary for the efficient operation of the library.
Each library established or maintained by any governing authority shall be free for the use of all persons living within the area represented by such governing authority, except for those charges for which provision may be made elsewhere in this article. The use of the library is subject to reasonable rules and regulations adopted by the library board. The board may extend the privilege and use of the library to nonresidents upon such terms and conditions as it may prescribe.
The board may exclude from the use of the library under its charge any person who wilfully and persistently violates any rule or regulation prescribed for the use of the library or its facilities.
The board of directors shall make an annual report for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth to the governing authority or authorities appointing it, stating the conditions of the library property, the various sums of money received from the library fund, and all other sources, and how such money was expended, the number of books and periodicals on hand, the number added and withdrawn during the year, the number of books lent, the number of registered users of such library, with such other statistics, information and suggestions as may be deemed of general interest. A copy of this report shall be sent to the West Virginia Library Commission.
The board of directors of each public library shall be a corporation; and as such it may contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, and shall have and use a common seal.
The title to all bequests or donations of cash or other personal property or real estate for the benefit of such library shall be vested in the board of directors to be held in trust and controlled by such board according to the terms and for the purposes set forth in the deed, gift, devise or bequest: Provided, however, That the person making the bequest or donation of cash or other personal property or real estate for the benefit of such library shall have the right and privilege to vest the title thereto in a trustee, or trustees, of his own selection, and to provide for the selection of successor trustees, and to designate the manner in which said fund or property shall be invested and used.
The board of directors of a library established or maintained under this article may fix, establish, and collect such reasonable fees, service and rental charges as may be appropriate; may assess fines, penalties, damages, or replacement costs for the loss of, injury to, or failure to return any library property or material; and may sell surplus, duplicated, obsolete, or other unwanted materials or equipment belonging to the library. All moneys received from these or other sources in the course of the administration and operation of the library shall be deposited in the library fund and shall be disbursed by the board of directors in the manner prescribed elsewhere in this article.
Any person who shall wilfully deface or injure any building or furniture, or deface, injure or destroy any picture, plate, map, engraving, newspaper, magazine, or book, or subject of art, or any other article belonging to a public library shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10, nor more than $50, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months.
Any person who willfully retains a book, newspaper, plate, picture, photograph, engraving, painting, drawing, map, magazine, document, letter, public record, microfilm, sound recording, audio visual materials in any format, magnetic or other tapes, artifacts or other documentary (written or printed) materials, or all materials of any kind whatsoever belonging to any public library for thirty days after the mailing date of a written notice demanding the return of said material and giving notice of said violation, forwarded to that person's last known address, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $200: Provided, That a date or dates designating a grace period for the return of library materials to public libraries shall be established, said dates to be established by the state Library Commission pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated thereto.
A conviction or payment of any fine shall not be construed to constitute payment for library material, nor shall a person convicted under this section be thereby relieved of any obligation to return to the library such material. Further, a conviction or payment of any fine shall not be construed as a waiver of any nominal daily fine which may be imposed by library rules, regulations or policies.
The parent or guardian of a minor who willfully commits any act prohibited by this section shall be liable for all damages so caused by the minor up to the amount of $2,500, after the parent or guardian is served with proper written notice as aforementioned.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abolish or abridge any power or duty conferred upon any public library already established by virtue of any city or town charter or other special act, or to affect any existing local laws allowing or providing municipal aid to libraries. Any library now operating under any city or town charter or other special act has, however, the privilege of reorganizing under the provisions of this article.
All powers granted herein shall be considered to be conferred upon public libraries existing at the time of the passage of this act.
Any provision concerning the disbursement of funds including the designation of the depository of the library funds or of the library board's disbursing officer contained in this article may be adopted by a library board organized under the provisions of this article, notwithstanding any other provisions of law.
There shall be a state Library Commission, known as the "West Virginia Library Commission", which shall consist of five members who shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, each for a term of four years. Thereafter, on July 1, 1995, four additional members shall be appointed: Provided, That for the four new members added to the commission in the year 1995, one shall serve an initial term of four years and three shall serve an initial term of two years. No more than three members may reside in the same congressional district. At least four members of the commission shall be women and at least four members shall be men. No member of the commission shall receive compensation for services rendered, nor be engaged or interested in the publishing business.
The members of the commission in office on the date this code takes effect shall, unless sooner removed, continue to serve until their respective terms expire and their successors have been appointed and have qualified. On or before the expiration of the terms for which said members are appointed, the Governor shall appoint their successors.
(a) The officers of the commission are a chairman, elected from the members of the commission, for a term of one year, and a secretary, who shall be a person trained in modern library methods, not a member of the commission. The secretary shall be appointed by the commission and shall serve at the will of the commission. The commission may establish headquarters or maintain its office at any point in the state determines.
(b) The secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of the commission, have charge of its work in organizing new libraries and improving those already established, supervise the work of the traveling libraries, and in general perform such duties as may from time to time be assigned to him or her by the commission.
The commission shall give assistance, advice and counsel to all school, state-institutional, free and public libraries, and to all communities in the state which may propose to establish libraries, as to the best means of establishing and administering them, selecting and cataloging books, and other details of library management, and may send any of its members to aid in organizing such libraries or assist in the improvement of those already established.
It may also receive gifts of money, books, or other property which may be used or held for the purpose or purposes given; and may purchase and operate traveling libraries under such conditions and rules as the commission deems necessary to protect the interests of the state and best increase the efficiency of the service it is expected to render the public.
It may purchase suitable books for traveling libraries and distribute them as needed to those persons and places in the state without adequate public library service. It may collect books and other suitable library matter and distribute the same among state institutions desiring the same.
The commission may issue and offer for sale printed material, such as lists and circulars of information, and in the publication thereof may cooperate with other state Library Commissions and libraries, in order to secure the more economical administration of the work for which it was formed. It may conduct courses of library instruction and hold librarians' institutes in various parts of the state.
The commission shall perform such other service in behalf of public libraries as it may consider for the best interests of the state.
If any sums of money are received by the commission as gifts, they shall be paid into the state Treasury and used exclusively for carrying out the provisions of this article, and paying expenses of the commissioners. The commission shall expend no sums unless they are available by gift, appropriation or otherwise.
The West Virginia Library Commission is hereby authorized to develop a plan for the establishment and location of regional libraries, and library areas throughout the state, based on a detailed survey to be made by the commission of the needs of the various localities of the state. A region shall include two or more counties.
On completion of the survey of any proposed region, the executive secretary of the commission shall refer the proposal to the county courts of all the counties included in such proposed region. The county courts shall act upon such proposal by resolution, and the votes of a majority of each of the county courts of the counties included in the proposed region shall be necessary for the adoption of such proposal. In case of the rejection of such proposal by the county courts of any of the counties included in such proposed region, the Library Commission is hereby authorized to alter its plan in accordance with such action in order to provide for a region in such section of the state. The vote of a majority of each county court in the counties in such altered region shall be necessary for the adoption of such proposal.
The West Virginia Library Commission shall have the following powers for the establishment and maintenance of regional areas and regional libraries:
(a) To establish, maintain, and operate a public library for the region;
(b) To appoint a librarian and the necessary assistants, and to fix their compensation, such appointments to be based upon merit and efficiency as determined by the commission. The librarian shall hold a certificate from an approved school of library science and shall have had not less than three years of practical experience in library work. Said Library Commission shall also have the power to remove said librarian and other assistants;
(c) To purchase books, periodicals, equipment and supplies;
(d) To purchase sites and erect buildings, and/or to lease suitable quarters, and to have supervision and control of said property;
(e) To borrow books from and lend books to other libraries;
(f) To enter into contracts to receive service from or give service to libraries within or without the region and to give service to municipalities without the region which have no libraries, or to cooperate with and aid generally without such contracts, public school, institutional and other libraries;
(g) To make such bylaws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with this article as may be expedient for the government of such regional library areas and the regional libraries therein, and for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this article;
(h) To accept for the State of West Virginia any appropriations of money that may hereafter be made out of the federal treasury by an act or acts of Congress and to disburse such funds for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this article, in accordance with sections eleven and twelve, article ten, chapter eighteen of the code of one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended.
(a) There is hereby established the state depository library clearinghouse which shall be under the direction of the state Library Commission.
(b) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) "Public document" means any document, report, directive, bibliography, rule, newsletter, pamphlet, brochure, periodical, request for proposal, or other publication, whether in print or an unprinted format, that is paid for, in whole or in part, by funds appropriated by the Legislature and may be subject to distribution to the public;
(2) "Depository library" means a library designated to collect, catalog, maintain and make available all or particular selected state publications to the general public; and
(3) "State agency" means any state office, whether legislative, executive or judicial, including, but not limited to, any Constitutional officer, department, division, bureau, board, commission or other agency which expends state appropriated funds.
(c) The state Library Commission shall establish a state depository library clearinghouse to receive and distribute all state public documents to the depository libraries around the state.
(d) The commission shall designate a state library staff member as director of the state publications clearinghouse for librarians. The director shall hold a graduate degree in library science from an accredited institution of higher learning. The clearinghouse shall establish requirements for eligibility to become and remain a depository library.
(e) In designating a library as a depository library the clearinghouse shall consider the geography of the state and the existing federal depository libraries. West Virginia University library, Marshall University library and the state department of archives shall be designated as complete depository libraries that shall receive two copies of all public documents. The clearinghouse shall also, pursuant to the requirements it establishes hereunder, designate other libraries around the state as depository libraries, upon request from a library.
(f) Each state agency shall designate one person as its documents officer while notifying the clearinghouse of his or her identity. The documents officer shall, prior to the public release of any state public document, deposit with the clearinghouse a minimum of fifteen copies as required to meet the needs of the depository library system. If fewer than forty copies of a public document are produced, no more than two such copies are required to be deposited with the clearinghouse.
After the establishment of a regional library area or regional library, as provided for in this article, the county court, legislative body of any city or town, the board of Education of any county, or any other governing body of any political subdivision of this state, already maintaining a public, school or county library, may notify the West Virginia Library Commission and such county, city or town, or other subdivision library may be transferred to, leased to, or used by said Library Commission for regional library purposes under such terms as may be mutually agreed upon between the said Library Commission and the respective county courts, legislative bodies of cities or towns, boards of education, or governing bodies of other political subdivisions.
The West Virginia Library Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to render such aid and assistance, financial, advisory and/or otherwise, to public, school, county, or regional libraries, whether established or maintained by said Library Commission or not, under such conditions and rules and regulations as the said commission deems necessary to further the interests of the state and best increase the efficiency of the service it is expected to render the public.
Having determined that the development and support of such libraries will further the education of the people of the state as a whole and will thereby aid in the discharge of the responsibility of the state to encourage and foster education, the West Virginia Library Commission is authorized and empowered to pay over and contribute to any board of library directors created and maintained pursuant to the provisions of this article or any special act of the Legislature such sum or sums of money as may be available from funds included in appropriations made for the West Virginia Library Commission for such purpose. The amount of any such payment or contribution by the commission to any such local library board of directors shall be determined in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the commission. The Library Commission shall have authority to promulgate rules and regulations governing the manner in which such amount or amounts of money shall be accounted for and expended.
The West Virginia Library Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to collect and preserve statistics and other data, concerning libraries of any sort located within this state; to make surveys relating to the needs or conditions of such libraries or the library conditions of any city, town, county, regional library area, or other subdivision of this state; and to publish the results and findings thereof in accordance with the provisions of section fourteen of this article. The commission may employ all necessary personnel for any of these purposes, such appointments to be based on merit and efficiency as determined by the commission. Such data, surveys and findings of the Library Commission shall be available to all school, public, institutional, regional and/or other libraries within this state, whether proposed or established.
(a) Circulation and similar records of any public library in this state which identify the user of library materials are not public records but shall be confidential and may not be disclosed except:
(1) To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business, including paid employees and unpaid volunteers upon completing a written confidentiality agreement which shall prevent disclosure of circulation records, personal information, and similar records of any public library except to the extent allowed under this subsection and obtaining written permission from the library director of the library system wherein he or she will be working;
(2) Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user's parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
(3) Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.
(b) Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by that subsection (a) does not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this section is not liable therefor.
(a) The Library Commission shall survey the libraries of the state, in consultation with each library, and other interested parties, in order for the Library Commission to develop a status report on the conditions and needs of the libraries in this state, and to prepare a ten-year plan for construction and maintenance needs of public libraries: Provided, That the Library Commission may use information that it has already complied that it would otherwise be required to survey pursuant to this subsection. On or before November 30, 2017, the Library Commission shall conduct a survey of state libraries which shall include, at a minimum:
(1) The annual maintenance and utility expenses of each library and satellite location for the past three years;
(2) A status report regarding the condition of all plumbing, electrical, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems of each library and satellite location;
(3) Estimated costs for maintenance upgrades or replacement of any plumbing, electrical, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems of each library and satellite location over the next ten years;
(4) A report regarding compliance of the structure of each library and satellite location with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and any needs for improved access thereof;
(5) A report on the technology capabilities of each library and satellite location, including, but not limited to, telephone and computer systems, telecommunication capabilities, availability of equipment to facilitate teleconferences or simulcasts, electronic media viewing capabilities, and any other technology-related information as the Library Commission deems appropriate, along with a breakdown stating whether such technology is available for public or library staff use;
(6) A report on the available public meeting space at each library and satellite location, and the process by which the public may request the use of the meeting space, and the frequency of use of such meeting space; and
(7) A report on all materials available to the public at each library and satellite location, including, but not limited to, books and electronic media available for loan, reference materials on site, access to any online accounts provided by the library that enable research of scholarly or reference materials, and any other information as the Library Commission deems appropriate.
(b) On or before January 31, 2018, the Library Commission shall prepare a report on the status of the libraries in this state, to be submitted to the Governor and to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance. The Library Commission report shall include the conditions of the libraries in this state and a proposed ten-year maintenance and construction plan for the public libraries, which shall include at a minimum:
(1) The name and location of each library and satellite location in this state;
(2) The condition of the physical structure of each library and satellite location;
(3) A report on the three-year average cost of utilities and maintenance of each library and satellite location;
(4) A cost estimate for structural repairs at each library and satellite location, including improvements for access for people with disabilities;
(5) A cost estimate for upgrades or replacement of any plumbing, electrical, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems of each library and satellite location;
(6) A cost estimate for improvements to the technology capabilities and a description of those needs for each library and satellite location, including, but not limited to, improvements for telecommunication services, additional computer work stations for public access, technology needs for library staff, and other technology assessments as the Library Commission deems appropriate;
(7) A report regarding the meeting space available for public use at each library and satellite location, and the process by which the public may request the use of the meeting room; and
(8) Any other information the Library Commission deems appropriate to propose for the improvement of library facilities, lending materials and needs of the library system over the next ten years.
(c) The Library Commission shall post a digital copy of the report, as required by this section, on the Library Commission website to be made available to the public.
(a) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund known as the “Library Facilities Fund”. Expenditures from the fund shall be for the purposes set forth in this section. The fund shall be administered by the West Virginia Library Commission.
(b) The fund shall consist of moneys received from the following sources:
(1) All appropriations made by the Legislature to the fund;
(2) Any moneys available from sources outside the West Virginia Library Commission;
(3) Repayment of loans made by the West Virginia Library Commission pursuant to this section; and
(4) All interest and other income earned from investment of moneys in the fund.
(c) The West Virginia Library Commission shall utilize moneys in the fund to support public library facilities construction, renovation, maintenance and improvement projects. The West Virginia Library Commission shall evaluate potential recipient projects of funds from the fund on a competitive basis.
(1) The West Virginia Library Commission may provide loans to public libraries to support energy savings and critical maintenance projects with moneys in the fund.
(2) With the exception of loans made under this section, the West Virginia Library Commission may not expend any money from the fund toward a particular project unless the proposed expenditure is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by other sources.
(d) The West Virginia Library Commission shall propose a rule for legislative approval in accordance with §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code to implement the provisions of this section. The rule shall contain at least the following:
(1) A process for submitting and reviewing proposals;
(2) The content of proposals;
(3) Criteria for evaluating proposals; and
(4) Other provisions the West Virginia Library Commission considers necessary to administer the program in accordance with this section.
(e) Any balance, including accrued interest and any other returns, in the fund at the end of each fiscal year will not expire to the General Revenue Fund but remain in the fund and be expended for the purposes provided by this section.
(f) In a given year, the West Virginia Library Commission may not allocate an amount in excess of four percent of the balance of the fund on December 31st of the immediately preceding calendar year for administrative expenses.
(g) The West Virginia Library Commission may invest any or all of the balance of the fund with the state’s Consolidated Investment Fund.