Library discusses naming rights and west side plans

West Side Library in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A committee of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County met Thursday to discuss a draft policy for naming future libraries in the system.

Library Executive Director Heidi Daniel said the biggest change in the new draft is adding naming rights for an entire library building. The rules in the policy would be for donors who would be interested in having parts of new or renovated libraries named for them.

“We did have a donor that was interested possibly in a project on the west side,” Daniel said.

And regarding that West branch library, Daniel told the PLYMC Board of Trustees at a meeting June 11 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 or renovating the current building on Mahoning Avenue. The consensus was that a library in the park was preferred at that time, according to a press release from the library.

“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,” Daniel told trustees.

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 news release states. The new facility also could 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.

“This is only a concept at this time and I need time to explore the feasibility and cost, as well as gather community input,” Daniel said. “I can’t stress enough that I feel it is important to maintain a library presence on west side. 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.”


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