Trustees Discuss Options for New West Library

YOUNGSTOWN (June 11, 2015) — The Board of Trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County met in regular session today and heard a report from Executive Director Heidi Daniel that the proposed library project in Mill Creek Park appeared to not be feasible and she asked Trustees to consider the option of a brand new library on the current Mahoning Avenue site.

Over a year ago, the Library held many community conversations and formed a task force to look at two options: moving the West Library into the Mill Creek Park Recreation Area in the warming house and renovating the current building on Mahoning Avenue. The consensus was that a library in the park was preferred at that time. But there have been significant changes since that time and Ms. Daniel asked Trustees to consider the potential for a new library on the Mahoning Avenue site.

She told the board, “After meeting with the new MetroParks Director, we came to the conclusion that the project in the park’s warming house will not be feasible at this time. We determined that we want to continue partnering with each other on various projects, however, we felt that the timing and finances for the library-in-the-park project are not aligning.”

With that in mind, Ms. Daniel recommended the Board look at another possibility for the West Side Library. She said she is exploring the option of demolishing the existing structure and building a new West Library on the current site with a new model of service that focuses heavily on technology and community space. The new facility could also combine the Library’s newest on-the-go service, the Pop-Up Library, along with the anticipated vehicles and staff needed to expand this outreach service, including housing a collection for the Pop-Up Library. She stressed, “This is only a concept at this time and I need time to explore the feasibility and cost, as well as gather community input.”

“I can’t stress enough that I feel it is important to maintain a library presence on West Side,” Ms. Daniel explained. “It has the highest population in the city and sits in a location that has both transitional and stable elements, which the library could meld. We have an opportunity to look at serving that community in a real way with a brand new service model.”

She continued, “The Mahoning Avenue location is close to the Main and Austintown libraries, so we would be looking at something smaller than either of those, but we want to create something very special that would be a draw and serve the area.”

In other discussion, the Board heard about Summer Reading progress, with this year’s program taking on new dimensions, along with the new name, Summer Discovery, and expanding its programs and services. Ms. Daniel also reported on the Canfield Library Capital Campaign, which is still underway and making great progress.

Additionally, the Literary Society will host best-selling author Louise Penny in an evening event at the Main Library on Sat., Aug. 29, with admission at $60. more information on this event »