Library Service Roadmap
Updated Mask Mandate
Masks are required for entry and must be worn properly (covering nose and mouth) at all times.
The Library will provide reasonable accommodation to any person unable to wear a mask by providing online help or telephone reference and non -contact pick up of materials, and/or allow a person to wear a full face shield that extends below the chin.
Libraries Are Open: Curbside Pickup Still Available
All Mahoning County public libraries, except the Greenford branch, are now open to the public. The latest to open was Main Library, 305 Wick Ave., Youngstown, which opened a space for public service on the first floor on Mon., Oct. 12.
Libraries first began reopening on July 13 with the Newport, Brownlee Woods, Sebring and Springfield branches. They were joined by the Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, East, Michael Kusalaba, Poland, Struthers and Tri-Lakes branches, which reopened on Mon., Aug. 3. The new Campbell Branch*, which is located in the Campbell CLWCC, opened Wed., Sept. 9. Greenford Library is the only location to remain closed as it is too small for COVID precautions with social distancing.
Please note that the Library has returned to its former telephone number of 330-744-8636 for all services, including Curbside Pickup.
For those who prefer contactless service, Curbside Pickup is available at OPEN locations, except Brownlee Woods.
In an open message to the community, Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek said:
Hi, I’m Aimee Fifarek, Executive Director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. On behalf of the Trustees and staff of the Library, I want to express our sincere thanks to our community for the love of libraries and for their patience during these difficult times.Read More
I am so pleased to announce that we are reopening our libraries and are looking forward to welcoming you back.
Please know that your safety and that of our staff has been in the forefront of our decisions in these unprecedented times. We have moved slowly and cautiously due to the difficulties of the COVID-19 environment.
We have put a number of safety measures into place for reopening. These include providing additional spacing between computers and furniture, providing floor decals for social distancing, putting up plexiglass shields, and reducing the number of people allowed in our buildings at one time.
We expect that everyone visiting library will wear a face covering and keep their mouth and nose covered for the duration of their visit. Free masks will be available for those who need one. If you are unable to meet the face covering expectation, please contact us and we will make every effort to provide you with library services you need.
You’ve been waiting for your library to open, and we’ve been working hard to ensure that we can provide you with the services you need in the safest way possible.
We will have many familiar resources and services available, including: career and job services, local history resources, computers and copiers, and of course, you will again be able to browse the collection and check out items.
Our staff is ready to work with you to meet all of your library needs.
For those who aren’t comfortable coming into the library yet, curbside pickup of materials will be available at all open locations, and we will continue to provide programming on our social media sites.
Welcome back to the Public Library. We hope to see you soon.
For more information checkout our website at LibraryVisit.org or on social media at LibraryMahoningCounty. We can’t wait to see you.
Our libraries have reopened and popular services, such as computer use, browsing the collection and checking out materials in-library, are available.
Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek says: “Thank you for your patience as we are all moving through this new reality where cautious steps are needed to ensure the safety of our staff and patrons. We must take precautions when considering in-building service, as libraries are gathering places and used by the most vulnerable populations, such as seniors, young children, people in poverty who are also prone to underlying disease. We choose to move ahead more slowly and with an abundance of caution out of care for everyone in the community.”
Will I Have to Wear a Mask in the Library?
Yes. Masks or coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn by patrons using the library, per Gov. Mike DeWine’s order of 07-23-2020. Children 6 years of age and older must also wear masks. The Library will have masks available at no charge for those who need them, including children. Staff will be wearing masks. Those patrons with a medical reason they cannot wear a mask or appropriate covering over the mouth and nose are advised to phone the Library in advance to talk with staff about how their library needs can be met. (Photo: Library Mascot Booker Bear wants all of our patrons and staff to stay safe! Masks are required. Thank you!
First Hour for Seniors and Vulnerable Patrons
Please note that the Library is reserving the first open hour at each location each day for our senior patrons age 65 and over, as well as vulnerable patrons of any age with underlying health conditions. This will apply to all libraries. For in-library service, children 7 years and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 18 years of age or older.
How Is the Library Ensuring that Materials Are Safe to Be Recirculated?
When the book and media drops are emptied, they are taken to a room inside the library where they remain untouched for (4) days before we return them to shelves and put them back in service.
Specialty services will be located in two libraries in order to remain accessible to patrons throughout the Main Library construction. The Brownlee Woods branch will temporarily house materials and services for the Business Center, Career and Job Center, and the Grant Center. The Struthers branch will be home to the Genealogy and Local History collection and services throughout construction. Please Note: Curbside Pickup will not be available at Brownlee Woods Library at this time.
Guidelines for Computer Use
-There will be 10 minutes between sessions to allow for cleaning and sanitizing
-A valid PLYMC library card is required for computer use
-Express computers will be offered to patrons for 15-minute use; printing is available on express computers
-Computers can be accessed by setting up an appointment, calling ahead to reserve a computer or by walking up. Walk-up service is first-come, first-served and based on availability. If no computers are available, a greeter will sign them up on a waiting list.
What Are Hours and Capacity?
For safety sake, we will also need to limit the number of patrons that can be in the building at any one time. Social distancing will be in place. Each library has a limit of its own.
|Austintown||9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.||capacity 70|
|Boardman||9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.||capacity 77|
|Brownlee Woods||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 19|
|Campbell (in CLWCC)||12 -7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 13|
|Canfield||9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.||capacity 70|
|East||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 34|
|Main Library||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 42|
|Michael Kusalaba||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat||capacity 43|
|Newport||9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.||capacity 35|
|Poland||9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.||capacity 74|
|Sebring||9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 14|
|Springfield||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 13|
|Struthers||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 24|
|Tri-Lakes||11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat.||capacity 25|
Are Meeting Rooms and Reading Areas Open?
Unfortunately, at this time, you still will not be able to gather in the library, use meeting rooms, lounge in reading areas or attend in-library programming.
Are the Libraries Providing Free WIFI?
The Library’s WIFI has been available outside libraries before and during the stay-at-home order and free WIFI is still available. The signal was boosted during this time to better enable people to use the WIFI outside libraries. Watch for signs in the library yards which indicate areas of best reception.
Reach a Live Staff Member at 330-744-8636
The Library has returned to its former telephone number of 330-744-8636. Patrons can call this number for reference information and other information about the Library.
How Do I Return Materials? Are Book and Media Drops Open? Will There Be Fines?
Materials must be returned in the Book and Media drop boxes outside each library. For safety sake, materials cannot yet be returned inside libraries. Patrons are asked to place library materials directly into the Book or Media drop box, but cautioned NOT to leave materials outside the box if it is full. Library cardholders are responsible for damages to materials checked out on their card. All returned items will be quarantined for four days, after which, materials will be checked in so that others may safely borrow them. Patrons should be aware that returned items may not be reflected in patron records immediately due to quarantine and processing time. PLEASE NOTE: The Library’s new Clean Slate program, which eliminates overdue fines, is now in effect. Please note that the Library will still collect the costs to replace materials which are not returned. Click to see announcement of the Clean Slate initiative.
Can I Get an Actual Book from the Library?
Yes! Libraries are open for walk-in patrons. You can browse the collection and check out books. You can use the computers and copiers. Also, Contactless Curbside Pickup, which started June 3, will continue. Patrons can place holds and check out books, movies, WiFi hotspots, and other library materials, for pickup.
|Note: The Library has signed the pledge to EMERGE Safely Pledge with the Youngtown-Warren Regional Chamber, the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau.|
Will Virtual Programming Continue?
Yes. Virtual programming through the Library’s social media will continue, even after libraries reopen on August 3. The Library’s virtual programming has proven to be popular. Watch for more programming on at #LibraryMahoningCounty on FaceBook. Virtual Programming »
The Library Has Continued to Provide Service Since March 16
Many library services continued without interruption and several have been added since library buildings closed March 16, including:Read More
• virtual programming, including Summer Discovery
• reference services
• audiobooks, e-books, movies and music
• online databases
• WIFI signals boosted to allow public use of the Internet from Library parking lots
• Curbside Pickup at Main Library, Austintown, Boardman and Canfield branches, getting physical materials into the hands of library patrons
• Pop-Up Library service at remote locations
• Special Delivery service, providing materials to qualifying disabled patrons
“During the first two months of COVID stay-at-home, 58 staffers presented more than 250 online programs, on topics ranging from book talks to crafts programs to standard and bilingual storytimes,” said Ms. Fifarek. “The 571 posts staff created on four different social media platforms were viewed a combined 891,198 times. And since starting phone service on March 26, staff working from home have answered more than 1,500 calls. Remote reference started on April 15 and librarians answered more than 400 reference questions by the end of May.”
“We want to express our sincere thanks to our community for their love of libraries and for their patience. We love our patrons, as well, and cannot wait until we can welcome you all back into our libraries again,” said Ms. Fifarek.
Newport, Sebring, Springfield, Brownlee Woods Libraries Were First to Open with Limited Services
An Open Letter from the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County – June 17, 2020
Everyone across Ohio is taking cautious steps out of our homes and PLYMC is no different. Although our staff has been providing amazing programs online for the entirety of this crisis, and we are available nearly every day by phone and by email, you tell us it’s just not the same as being in the library with a book in your hand.
We hear you and couldn’t agree more!
But, like they say on social media, it’s complicated. More than anything else, people see libraries as a safe place, where you can come when you’re not at work, at home, or at school. We try to live up to that trust every day, and the COVID-19 era is no exception.
Libraries are a lot of things to a lot of people: office, study hall, bookstore, meeting space, entertainment venue and sometimes even day care and refuge. But while each one of those industries does one thing and has one set of guidelines to follow, ALL of them apply to the Library in some respect. It’s our duty to make sure we are adhering to these regulations as we expand our services.
That’s why we are taking things slowly. We started curbside pickup of materials on June 3 and are putting our book drops back out for you to return materials June 17. We will be opening a few locations for computer and copier access in early July, and plan to open more locations when our staff on voluntary furlough is back at work in August. There is still a mass gathering restriction of 10 people and once that is adjusted, we will be able to start additional services.
Most importantly, we want to do this right the first time, so we don’t have to shut down services because the virus is spreading. We know how important we are to everyone in school, and we want to be there for you when classes are back in session in the fall.
But there is one thing libraries don’t want to keep doing, and that’s being a person’s ONLY source of reliable broadband access. It is true for too many people in the community, and if this crisis has showed us anything, it is that people need reliable, affordable broadband access in their homes if they are to succeed in school, at work, and in life.
People shouldn’t have to sit in our parking lots – or our buildings for that matter – to do homework or apply for jobs. They shouldn’t have to spend a long time walking to a library or taking public transportation just to have an hour or two on a computer. To successfully swim in the waters of our digital era, everyone needs to have Internet access at their fingertips, whenever they need it, day or night.
We applaud the initiatives going through Federal and State legislatures to help make this happen. U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson is a member of the U.S. Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus and in April, with Rep. Rob Wittman, introduced the Serving Rural America Act to provide $100 million a year over five years to expand broadband service to unserved areas of the country.
Last week, the Ohio House passed the Residential Broadband Expansion Legislation sponsored by Ohio Representatives Rick Carfagna and Michael O’Brien and and co-sponsored by Ohio Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan which would provide $20M to expand broadband services to Ohio households without access today. We hope that these and other measures succeed.
While we wait, your Library will still be there for you. We’ve boosted WIFI into our parking lots and added signs to show where the signal is strongest. We will be opening up for computer access next month. And we’ve purchased additional WIFI hotspots for checkout through curbside service so you can have access where it will do the most good – at home. All of this is free with your library card.
The library is open 24/7 at libraryvisit.org, and by phone Monday – Saturday at 330-259-3399.