Most Libraries to Reopen Mon., Aug. 3
At a virtual special meeting today, the Board of Trustees, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC), heard a report from Executive Director Aimee Fifarek that most libraries will reopen on August 3, ratified a contract with Library employees, approved a retirement incentive plan, and voted in a new Board member.
The Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, East, Michael Kusalaba, Poland, Struthers and Tri-Lakes libraries will join the four which opened on July 13: Newport, Brownlee Woods, Sebring and Springfield branches. (For more on branch openings, click here.)
For those who prefer contactless service, Curbside Pickup will still be available at the four current locations and will expand to other locations beginning August 3.
Three libraries will remain unavailable for the time being – Main Library, Greenford and Campbell. The Main Library staff is creating a reduced-service area which will serve patrons during the renovation construction. Greenford Library is too small for adequate social distancing. And the Campbell Library will be available once theCLWCC (Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center), where it will be located, has opened to the public.
Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek said, “We are so pleased to be able to welcome our patrons into our libraries throughout the county and bring back a very popular service, browsing our collection. We are asking the public to have patience during the days leading up to August 3, as this transition period may lead to some delays with phone service or curbside pickup. Our staff is gearing up to provide service and they are letting us know that they have missed being able to help our patrons with their library needs.”
Masks Required Per Governor DeWine’s Order
Masks or face coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn by patrons using the library, including children 6 years of age and older. The Library will have masks available at no charge for those who need them, including children. Staff will be wearing masks. Those patrons with a medical reason they cannot wear a mask or cloth face shield are advised to phone the Library in advance to talk with staff about how their library needs can be met.
Libraries that are open will have safety measures in place, such as social distancing and shields of plexiglass or similar material, spacing between computers, and reduced capacities. Services like meeting room use, lounging and reading areas, and in-library programming are still not available.
Playscapes in children’s areas will not be available. The Makerspace in the Michael Kusalaba Branch will not be available.
The Library is reserving the first open hour at each location each day for our senior patrons age 65 and over, as well as vulnerable patrons of any age with underlying health conditions. For in-library service, children 7 years and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 18 years of age or older.
Brownlee Woods and Struthers Libraries Host Special Collections
Specialty services will be located in two smaller libraries in order to remain accessible to patrons throughout the Main Library construction. The Brownlee Woods branch will temporarily house materials and services for the Business Center, Jobs and Career Center, and the Grant Center. The Struthers branch will be home to the Genealogy and Local History collection and services throughout construction. Patrons should call the Library to schedule an appointment with a librarian for help with these collections.
Hours and Capacities in Libraries Beginning August 3*
Austintown:………….. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. …………… capacity 70
Boardman: ……………. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. …………… capacity 77
Brownlee Woods:…… 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat…….. capacity 19
Canfield: ………………. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. …………… capacity 70
East: ……………………. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat…….. capacity 34
Michael Kusalaba:….. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat…….. capacity 43
Newport: …………….. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. …………… capacity 35
Poland: ………………… 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. …………… capacity 74
Sebring: ……………….. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat….. capacity 14
Springfield: …………… 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat…….. capacity 13
Struthers: …………….. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat…….. capacity 24
Tri-Lakes: ……………. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat…….. capacity 25
* Please note that the first hour each day is reserved for seniors or those who are vulnerable due to underlying health condition.
Curbside Pickup Available
Curbside Pickup will be available at all open locations, plus the Main Library.*
On August 1, Libraries Will Be Unavailable as Computer System is Upgraded
Ms. Fifarek noted that on Saturday, August 1, the four libraries currently providing service (Newport, Brownlee Woods, Sebring and Springfield branches) will be closed for one day as the Library’s Internet provider is performing an upgrade and libraries will not have Internet, computer or phone access. These libraries will reopen on their next scheduled day.
New Trustee Elected
Trustees unanimously elected T. Sharon Woodberry, recommendation of the Nominating Committee, to the Library Board of Trustees. Ms. Woodberry is Director of Economic Development for the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, City of Youngstown. She has been with the City’s Economic Development Office in various capacities since 2000.
Union Contract Ratified
Trustees voted to ratify a contract between the Library and the SEIU District 1199 CMT, comprised of Clerical, Maintenance, Technical employees. The contract had been scheduled to expire in April of 2020 Due to the COVID-19 situation, the contract was extended to July 31 and was negotiated virtually. The five-year pact provides for 2.5% across-the-board pay increases annually. CMT union members ratified the agreement on July 7. CMT has 102 members.
Negotiations with the Library’s other union, SEIU District 1199 PLAY (Public Librarians Association of Youngstown) were completed just prior to the Library’s COVID closings. This five-year agreement also provides 2.5% across-the-board pay increases annually. PLAY members ratified the agreement on March 8 and Library trustees ratified on March 11. PLAY has 65 members.
Retirement Incentive Program Approved
Trustees approved a plan to offer a modest retirement incentive to PLAY and CMT staff with more than 80 points (points being years of service plus age). Staff electing to take the incentive will receive between $2000 and $5000 as a lump sum payout with their last paycheck. This incentive plan was designed to help avoid layoffs resulting from the new COVID-era staffing plan. Each building will be operating with reduced capacities to support social distancing, which also reduces the number of staff required.