Library Receives $14,000 in Community Donations to Help Create Sensory Space

YOUNGSTOWN—The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) recently received $14,000 in donations from various community groups to help create a Sensory Space in the Boardman Library. 

In December, the Library received a $50,000 grant from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), awarded by the State Library of Ohio, to create a dedicated sensory space and offer additional programming and library services for the special needs community across Mahoning County. The space will include approachable play materials that users can see, touch, and explore to help regulate their bodies through calming sensory experiences.  

Part of the grant requirement was to earn $12,500 in matching funds and thanks to the following community groups and donors, PLYMC was able to surpass this requirement:   The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley—$8,000 The Thomases Family Endowment—$4,000 The Boardman Rotary Club—$1,500 The Boardman Community Foundation—$500 

The Sensory Space, which is currently under construction, can also be used for programming, such as sensory story times, and patrons will be able to book the space. It can also be used by patrons who need a sensory break while using the Library. Additionally, the Library plans to offer additional sensory programming and services at other Library locations.   

“We are grateful for the generosity of all of our community funders, including the Thomases Family Endowment’s support and investment in the Boardman Library Sensory Space, and we are looking forward to providing a better Library experience space for members of our special needs community,” said PLYMC Development Director Deborah Liptak. 

“Irwin Thomases loved his adopted community of Youngstown and wanted to ensure that the area did not merely survive, but rather, thrive. He envisioned that supporting economic development, social, health, education, and arts-related programs would provide the necessary impetus to propel progress within the community,” said Lisa Long, Financial Resource Development Director for the Youngstown Area Jewish Foundation on behalf of the Thomases Family Endowment. “The Thomases Family Endowment has distributed millions of dollars to organizations in the Mahoning Valley, across the United States, as well as in Israel. It is our hope that through our giving we’ve made and will continue to make this community and the world a better place to live. We are honored to be a part of this important update to the Boardman Library. It will give a safe space for those with special needs, and we hope it fosters a love of learning and reading for many generations to come.” 

The Thomases Family Endowment Presents Check to the Library 

Work on the Sensory Space should be completed by June.  

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