Trustees Approve Emergency Expenditure for Air-Cleaning Systems in Libraries

YOUNGSTOWN (October 28, 2020/For Immediate Release) – The Board of Trustees, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC), at a virtual special meeting today, approved the emergency purchase of air filtration systems to improve air quality in library buildings considering an upturn in COVID-19 cases.

Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek asked Trustees to vote for an urgent necessity exception to the competitive bidding requirements so that air-filtration equipment could be purchased and installed as quickly as possible, both for safety reasons and to meet deadlines on CARES Act funding.

The specific technology being purchased is needlepoint bipolar ionization (NBPI).  NBPI devices produce positive and negative ions that neutralize viruses, allergens, and other harmful airborne particles.  These elements can be added on to existing heating and air conditioning systems without requiring other significant changes.

This purchase would be a substantial investment, but qualifies for funds under the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by the President on March 27. Mahoning County public libraries received $375,000 in CARES Act funds, which are aimed at helping libraries operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. CARES Act expenditures must be completed by the end of this year.

Air-cleaning units will be installed in all branch libraries in the PLYMC system at an estimated cost of $92,000. Because of the current renovation of the Main Library, this building’s air-cleaning unit will be purchased now with CARES Act money, but will be installed at a later date with Library funding.

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