Ohio County Board of Education members did the right thing in agreeing Monday to continue providing support to the Ohio County Public Library. The action was right because of the library's central role as a community institution.
It was right, too, in view of the educational opportunities provided for both children and adults. And finally, the board's action was responsive to wide support for the library among local residents.
There had been some concern about the board's support of the library, which, at $531,592 this year, amounts to about 40 percent of the facility's budget. Questions about whether the board would continue providing money came after the state Supreme Court ruled in a case involving the Kanawha County Board of Education and funding for the library in Charleston.
High court justices found a 1957 state law requiring boards of education in nine counties to support libraries is unconstitutional. Both Kanawha and Ohio counties were covered by the mandate.
In Kanawha County, it appears school board members will stop providing money to the local library.
But here, the attitude is pleasantly different and enlightened. "It's the right thing to do," Ohio County board President James Jorden said of funding for the local library. "My initial reaction to this has been, of course we'll continue to fund the library," added board member Sarah Koegler. "I have no doubts," chimed in board member Gary Kestner. Board members Christine Carder and Shane Mallett agreed.
Representing as it does only about 1 percent of the board's budget, funding for the library provides excellent "bang for the buck" in terms of education. As Jorden noted, the library "is a necessary partner in education with Ohio County schools."