Library Approves Emergency Purchase of Air-Cleaning Systems

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — At a special virtual meeting Wednesday, the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County board of trustees approved the emergency purchase of air-filtration systems to improve air quality in library buildings.

The move comes amid increased COVID-19 cases. Executive Director Aimee Fifarek asked trustees to vote for an urgent necessity exception to the competitive bidding requirements so that air-filtration equipment could be purchased and installed as quickly as possible, both for safety reasons and to meet deadlines on federal CARES Act funding.

Funds will be used to purchase needlepoint bipolar ionization, or NBPI devices that produce positive and negative ions that neutralize viruses, allergens and other harmful airborne particles, according to a release. These elements can be added to existing heating and air conditioning systems without requiring other significant changes.

The purchase qualifies for funds under the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Mahoning County public libraries received $375,000 in CARES Act funds to aid libraries’ safe operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. CARES Act expenditures must be completed by the end of this year.

Air-cleaning units will be installed in all branch libraries in the PLYMC system at an estimated cost of $92,000. Because of the current renovation of the Main Library, this building’s air-cleaning unit will be purchased now with CARES Act money, but will be installed at a later date with Library funding.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.