PLYMC Receives Nearly $330,000 in Grant Funding to Expand Culinary and STEM Programs

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) recently received nearly $330,000 in grant funding through the Ohio Department of Education’ s Libraries Accelerating Learning Program.

The first grant is the Kitchen Literacy Grant, which awarded $179,863.31 to PLYMC and Salem Public Library to purchase two Kitchen a La Cart mobile kitchens. PLYMC and Salem Public Library will use Main Library’s Culinary Literacy Center to develop a curriculum to cook healthy food while also developing stronger literacy, resiliency, math, teamwork, kitchen safety and sequence skills (i.e., understanding why you need to combine your dry ingredients before mixing them into your wet ingredients). The program will then be used with the kitchen carts at various library locations throughout PLYMC and Salem Public Library. This program will be for families, after-school programs, and school-aged participants.

“PLYMC is thrilled to partner with Salem Public Library on this wonderful program to help provide vital skills to some of our youngest Library patrons throughout the Valley at their local Library branch, because we know not everyone can attend a culinary program at our Main Library’s Culinary Literacy Center,” said Erin Phemester, PLYMC Chief Experience Officer. “Especially as families are looking to make healthier choices in the new year and involve their kids in the kitchen, we are pleased to present new classes and programs on learning and working together.”

“Salem Public Library is excited to join forces with PLYMC to offer some of our youngest Valley residents the chance to learn about cooking and help them create a healthy foundation in the kitchen by teaching about and through food with culinary literacy programs,” said Brad Stephens, Salem Public Library Director/Fiscal Officer. 

PLYMC and Salem Public Library are currently preparing the curriculum and plan to deploy the kitchen carts in the following weeks.

PLYMC also received a second grant, the First Lego League Grant, in the amount of $152,038 to purchase Lego Spike Education Essentials kits and iPads to help 2nd-4th graders explore the fundamentals of engineering with Legos. Students will learn to design and code and create unique solutions to real-world problems with Lego bricks powered by Lego Spike Education motors. The grant will also fund one full-time staff position for two years to support the increased programming.

PLYMC will also offer two Engineering Expos at Main Library in 2023 and 2024 featuring students who have participated in the programs as well as local high school robotics teams, engineering students from Youngstown State University (YSU), and practicing engineers to show these young students the next steps to potential careers.

More information on this program as well as the Engineering Expos will be coming soon.

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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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