Library to Create Learning Space for IMLS Grant; Will Partner with OH WOW!



YOUNGSTOWN (November 30, 2015/For Immediate Release) – The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) has received a grant of $20,765 for coordinated learning spaces at two places, the Library and partner organization OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology.

“Sparks! Ignition Grants” are funded by The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The local grant, “Youngstown Ohio Learning Opportunities” or YOLO, will promote two relatively new lab spaces for kids in grades K-8. Participants will interact with hands-on activities and technology in a lab space opening in the Main Library, 305 Wick Ave., in January, and with designated exhibits at OH WOW!

Through the YOLO grant, stackable badges will be developed to track the progress of participants as they move between the Library and OH WOW! for learning.

“The purpose of this project is to evaluate if learning is increased when two organizations offer opportunities for tiered learning experiences,” says Josephine Nolfi, Director of Programming and Youth Service, about the partnership between the Library and OH WOW! “This grant aims to bring children into both the Library and OH WOW! for a learning process that builds on itself as kids experience topics from multiple perspectives at two locations.”

“As an example of the tiered learning experience,” Ms. Nolfi continues, “kids can visit OH WOW! and play a piece of music on a PVC pipe organ. They can continue that experience at the Library, where they can compose and edit an original piece of music using software. These activities can earn them a Music badge.”

Once the Library’s learning space opens in January, kids can take part in hands-on activities such as: using a Makey, Makey with water controls to play video games, discovering how a 3D printer creates an airplane, learning about aerodynamics with a remote-controlled toy drone, making movies with animation, working with online Lego building, writing a mad-lib weather forecast which can then be presented at the green-screen exhibit at OH WOW!, and much more.

Suzanne Barbati, President and Executive Director of OH WOW!, says, “OH WOW! is excited to be involved with this project. We believe its results will offer important insights for future efforts.”

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [Grant # SP-02-15-0035-15].

An IMLS news release* explains: “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter…

“Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries provide opportunities to expand and test the boundaries of library and archive services and practices. Sparks Grants support the deployment, testing, and evaluation of promising and groundbreaking new tools, products, services, or organizational practices.”*