The move should save the library more than $100,000: the festival's budget is around $90,000, and the library usually has around 500 hours of labor tied up in the event, some from volunteers, but much from paid employees.
The library system is still reeling from a recent state Supreme Court decision that found a 1957 law forcing the school system to help fund libraries is unconstitutional. That decision freed the school system from a relationship with the library that it had long argued was unfair, and left the library scrambling for around $3 million -- nearly 40 percent of its operating budget.
In response, the library system has also outlined a slew of potential cost-cutting measures. This is the second of those to actually be implemented; it has already eliminated Sunday hours at the main library in Charleston and the St. Albans branch.
On the other side of the equation, officials are pursuing a number of additional funding sources.
At its meeting Monday, the library's board of directors approved a draft of a letter to the Kanawha County school board asking it to continue funding the library voluntarily. In that letter, the board asks that the school system fund the library at the full level through the end of this fiscal year, and then contribute about $2.5 million in the 2014 fiscal year, while the two entities work on a more long-term solution.
"$2.5 million is something that we think we could survive on," Albert said. "Though maybe not thrive."
Board members also discussed the status of pending legislation that could provide more stable funding for the library. A bill that should soon be introduced in the Senate would require all school systems to turn over 1 percent of their operating budgets to their local libraries.
Right now, the Kanawha County school board turns over about 1.25 percent of its annual budget.
They didn't take any action on that item, and one board member, Jim Withrow, spoke against that legislation, citing the handful of county school systems that are facing their own financial hardships. Withrow is on the school board's payroll as its attorney, but he said he was expressing his personal view.