Library launches a “new chapter” | News, Sports, Jobs
YOUNGSTOWN – Emma Miles identified the origin of many of her ancestors in the south of England, although she did not have to cross the Atlantic Ocean to do so.
“It’s amazing. I love the light and the glass ceiling,” said Miles, from Poland, referring to some of the additions to the main branch of the Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library.
Miles, who came with a group of several women, was also intrigued by three maps in the new genealogy room: one each showing the world, the United States, and much of Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was on the world map that she placed several small colorful stickers to indicate that her grandparents, great-grandparents and parents were primarily from Cornwall and Lands End, England.
“I love that aspect,” she said of the cards.
These were among the deals Miles took advantage of as part of a celebration of the new chapter on Saturday afternoon at the Wick Avenue facility.
The five-hour event aimed to showcase the library, which opened in 1910, and the $27 million in renovations and additions that have gone into it, including a restored stained-glass skylight above. above the large reading room. Part of the work also included adding the genealogy room, a culinary literacy center, an audio-visual recording studio with podcasting capabilities, a 125-person meeting and conference room, Cricut and sewing machines, a digitization lab, a children’s section, and a science, technology, engineering, and math.
“It’s a celebration of Youngstown, the library and its long history, and it’s truly the culmination of years and years of planning,” said Aimee Fifarek, CEO and Executive Director of PLYMC.
Fifarek noted that while a lot of things are new, the work was also a throwback to the past in some aspects. For example, two 850-pound brass doors facing Wick Avenue that resemble the original doors have been installed, along with two lampposts, which also have metaphorical value as they emit “the light that knowledge brings”, a she added.
Fifarek predicted that the excitement and excitement around the newly revamped library will continue once the “wow factor” wears off. Specifically, it will continue to give many people yet another reason to come to downtown Youngstown; moreover, the staff and programming will “convert visitors into customers,” she continued.
Among those planning to be longtime patrons are Girard’s Veronica Miller and her two daughters, Rory and Renlee, 2 and 3, respectively.
The family moved to the Mahoning Valley about a year ago from the Pittsburgh area, Miller said. Although relatively new to the area, she was soon impressed with the library’s offerings.
“I really like the hands-on gear. It’s helpful to have somewhere they can play outside of their house,” she said, adding that she hopes to bring the kids at least every Saturdays.
For their part, Renlee and Rory wasted no time in familiarizing themselves with the children’s section. They actively used a variety of toy foods to make “meals” consisting of gingerbread cookies, pizza, and a burger to which Rory added “salt” and “pepper.”
Canfield’s Ryan Silvashy, also moved by what he learned, was drawn to the skylight, which will illuminate what some have described as a dark area of the building. Likewise, he expressed his joy that more windows had been added to improve the amount of incoming light.
Additionally, Silvashy said he was happy to see the many services and offerings for children, as well as the additional meeting rooms and study areas. Gone are the days when a library was just for checking and returning books, he added.
“It’s so much more than a book deposit,” Silvashy said, adding that he plans to be a regular patron.
Most of the renovations on the second floor are complete, except in one area which is to receive shelving to store some of the documents from the library’s permanent collection.
Fifarek noted that the library plans to restore its original hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday as well as 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. She also hopes the facility will have Sunday hours, she added.