Harry Reustle is the school system's treasurer; Jim Withrow is the board's attorney. Both are members of the library's board.
Withrow said last week that this relationship hasn't been awkward so far - Withrow always excuses himself from the library board's discussion of the lawsuit with the school board so far - but he wasn't sure how the arrangement would progress.
The ties don't end in the bureaucracy: In addition to the situation at Riverside, two other public libraries are situated on land that is adjacent to public schools. More than 40 school libraries use the public library's computer cataloguing system which, Engelbert wrote in an e-mail "was intended to establish a seamless information system for all residents of Kanawha County at all stages of their lives, whether they were involved in formal education such as K-12 or were pursuing life-long education."
The library has some 50,000 books that it loans to public libraries to supplement their collections. The mobile library, or "bookmobile," stops at seven schools on a regular basis.
The state Supreme Court ruling didn't dissolve any of these ties, only released the school system from the funding mandate, but the ruling could have ramifications in that sphere as well. Along with a slew of other cost-saving measures, the library board is examining the services the library system provided for the student population that don't benefit all library patrons, though no concrete decisions have yet been made.
And the library system is still requesting funding from the school system on a voluntary basis - a funding relationship similar to the one in 81 other public library systems across West Virginia.
The state Board of Education is encouraging all local school boards to provide some funding for their public libraries if they can afford to do so, even the eight other counties that, like Kanawha, were freed from obligatory funding relationships with their local libraries by the recent court decision.
The school board will take up the issue at its 4 p.m. meeting today.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.