Library Welcomes Erin Phemester

Erin Phemester is the Library's new Programming and Younth Services Director

Erin Phemester

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC) welcomes Ms. Erin Phemester to the position of Programming and Youth Services Director.

Ms. Phemester is a Pittsburgh, PA, native who came back to our area from her most recent job as Senior Library Manager from 2013-2019 in the Alachua County Library District in Gainesville, Florida. Prior to that, she was with the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall as Library Director from 2012-2013, and Children and Youth Services Librarian from 2007-2013. She holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor of Arts Degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

“I was looking for an opportunity to come back to this area to be closer to family,” she explains. “In looking for a new job that allowed me to combine my passions of community outreach and programming, I discovered the Mahoning County library system. I was happy to see that programming was an integral part of library service in Mahoning County. This made me want to tackle the job. I feel that programming for youth services through adults is an exciting challenge.”

How did she get interested in children’s programming? “I had a background working as a nanny, so I had worked with children. An internship came up at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and I was asked to present a story time. I found it was the most fun I’d had and I fell in love with children’s work.”

She experienced how collection development integrated with programming and believed this provided great service to library patrons. In Florida, she was passionate about a program she launched to see that every student in their area schools had a library card.

She brought that enthusiasm and professionalism to PLYMC and is eager to work on projects outlined in the Library 2020 strategic plan. She feels the Library’s mission – Connect, Inspire, Enrich – is a good one and she looks forward to discovering more ways to connect people to the information they need to inspire them and enrich their lives.

Ms. Phemester has won a string of awards. Among them:

– The Virginia Hamilton Creative Outreach Award 2018 which involved a grant to provide multicultural folk and fairytale book club using books written by Virginia Hamilton and a variety of authors.

– The Florida Humanities Council Great American Read Grant 2018.

– The Guy Hudspeth Award 2018 for exceptional outreach efforts and a holistic approach to librarianship.

– The Carol Combs Hole Award 2016 for outstanding accomplishments that exemplify “thinking outside the book” to broaden, enhance, improve or promote library services and community outreach.

– The Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award – Children’s Program which she and her team earned in 2015 for a sensory story time program which started with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

– The NEFLIN (North East Florida Library Information Network) Innovative Award 2015, which recognized the Alachua County Library District Sensory Story time for its demonstrated impact on the community.

She is a member of the American Library Association, Association for Library Service to Children, Public Library Association, Young Adult Library Services Association, and Ohio Library Council.

Ms. Phemester started her new position on February 25. Previous Programming and Youth Services Director Josephine Nolfi retired at the end of December after 41 years at the Library.

She and her husband, Patrick, have two children and they are all eager to learn and experience all that our area has to offer.

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