Library Express in OH WOW! Will Close Friday

YOUNGSTOWN (For immediate release/Thursday, April 26,2018) – The Library Express inside of Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology will close its doors at the end day on Friday, April 27. The Express hours on the last day are 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) opened this express location in April of 2017.  “Over the last year we were pleased to be able to provide Library Express service at the OH WOW! location” said Aimee Fifarek, PLYMC Executive Director. “We were grateful that OH WOW! was willing to experiment by including this Express library in their facility. Although this did not turn out to be a long-term location for the Library, we learned a great deal from the process and our partnership with OH WOW! remains strong. We are actively working to find new ways for OH WOW! and the Library to collaborate.”

This pilot project was put in place a year ago to provide a quick-stop outlet in downtown Youngstown. A space was available in OH WOW! and the Center offered it to the Library.  “By opening a satellite location in the OH WOW! Lobby, we hoped to make it easier for those working downtown and visiting the OH WOW! Center to access Library services,” Ms. Fifarek explained.  “However, usage was low and it was determined that in order to be good stewards of public funds, we needed to redirect those resources to areas where demand is higher.”

The Library Express is a limited-service location, offering new card sign-ups and checkouts of popular books and materials for all age groups. Over the past 11 months, the location had 1,994 visits over and circulation was about 800.

“We have staffed this location for a year and have tried various ways to increase awareness of the site and boost visibility, but low usage seems to indicate this may not be the best location for the type of library service we could provide at an Express location,” said Janet Loew, Communications/Public Relations Director. “There are no job cuts from this closing and the 80 hours of staff time per month from the OH WOW! Library Express will be a valuable addition to other library locations.”

Patrons should note that the Main Library is near downtown, located at 305 Wick Avenue, with parking and good accessibility. The Library also recently opened the new Michael Kusalaba Branch on Mahoning Avenue and that location has had very high usage. Additionally, the PLYMC Pop-Up Library service meets a need for providing library service outside of traditional library branches.

Suzanne Barbati, Executive Director of OH WOW!, said, “”OH WOW! and the PLYMC have been collaborative partners since our opening in May 2011, which fulfills both our missions and makes good sense.  The goal of our partnership is that families have access to the tremendous resources at both organizations.” She noted, “OH WOW! happily hosted the Library’s satellite in our lobby area as an experiment, because that’s what we do:  experiment and explore.  The usage data collected did not meet our expectations, but our partnership with the Library will continue in exciting ways.  Passes to OH WOW! are available through the Library’s circulation department.  OH WOW! is able to contribute tens of thousands of free admission passes to the Library’s Summer Discovery Program, thanks to our Board’s ‘Friends Campaign.’ And we look forward to announcing a new joint venture later this year.”

PLYMC has 15 locations throughout Mahoning County, plus the Special Delivery service and Books-By-Mail for people who cannot get to a library.

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