PLYMC Receives $50,000 From the J. Ford Crandall Foundation

YOUNGSTOWN – The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) recently received a $50,000 check from The J. Ford Crandall Foundation for Main Library’s Family Engagement Area’s Children’s Area and Playhouse.

“The J. Ford Crandall Trustees feel that having a vibrant library is vital in promoting culture, literacy and education,” said Attorney Andrew Bresko of the J. Ford Crandall Foundation. “Today, PLYMC advances all of those things and more. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding library system here. It’s truly an investment in our community and in our future. The J. Ford Crandall Trustees are proud to be a small part of this project.”

The Playhouse is shaped like a treehouse and features colorful exploration tools that are accessible for kids of all ages and abilities to enjoy. The area also includes a play kitchen with Corian countertops and books in easy-to-access shelves complete with benches. It is located on the first floor of Main Library’s Family Engagement Area, which at 4,380 square feet, is nearly three times the size of the approximately 1,500-square-foot children’s area previously at Main Library. The new Family Engagement Area opened to the public in August of 2021.

“We’re grateful to the Crandall Foundation for helping us to achieve our goals to inspire, connect, and enrich the lives of our patrons across the Mahoning Valley. This generous gift will help us to encourage imagination, creativity, and just plain fun for some of our youngest patrons at Main Library,” said Aimee Fifarek, PLYMC Director and CEO. 

The Family Engagement Area also includes children’s computers, a story time space, STEAM area, a teen room, and DIY Space with sewing machines, 3-d printer, loom, digital die-cutting machine, and state-of-the-art one-touch recording studio.  

“The Crandall Foundation is a strong partner and supporter of PLYMC and our mission,” said Deborah Liptak, PLYMC Development Director. “We are extremely grateful for their generosity and their commitment to making a difference for our Library and our communities.” 

Main Library, which was under construction for nearly two-years, celebrated its official grand re-opening to the community on Saturday, June 11, with more than 800 people in attendance. The renovation includes a new 6,000 square foot addition which features the new culinary literacy kitchen with accessible cooking stations and a new meeting room space for patrons to rent. In the original 1910 Main Library building, the renovation featured the restored Grand Reading Room, skylight and Parthenon frieze as well as the reimagined front Wick Avenue stairs, lampposts, and 850-pound bronze doors below the “For the People” inscription.The Family Engagement Space, including the Playscape, was full of children and families enjoying their day at the newly renovated Main Library.

For more information on how to donate to PLYMC, visit, opens a new window or contact Deborah Liptak, PLYMC Development Director at 330-740-6086 or, opens a new window

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The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) has served the Mahoning Valley since 1880 when the Youngstown Library Association was officially created. With 15 branches across Mahoning County, including our Main Library in downtown Youngstown, the PLYMC is well known for signature services and programs like Summer Discovery and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. The mission and values of PLYMC to “connect, inspire, and enrich” position the Library to serve our communities by preparing children for kindergarten, promoting early literacy, assisting job seekers, connecting Valley residents to technology, and providing resources for small businesses.

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