Library Eyes Early ’18 Opening for Kusalaba Branch

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Construction of a new library branch to serve the West Side of Youngstown is continuing on schedule, with an opening anticipated in late January or early February 2018.

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County broke ground last November on the $3.78 million Michael Kusalaba Branch, which will replace the old West Side Branch on Mahoning Avenue.

The Michael Kusalaba Fund of the Youngstown Foundation donated $1.68 million toward construction of the branch, which also will serve as the base of operations for the system’s Pop-Up Library service.

“Construction is on schedule to be completed by Dec. 20, barring any unforeseen delays,” Sue Merriman, interim executive director, said. At that point, the building will be turned over to the library to start bringing in shelving, books and other materials to be loaned, equipment and furnishings, and to begin setting up staff areas.

Yesterday the library board of directors’ building and sites committee awarded a landscaping contract for the branch to Executive Landscaping Inc., Vienna Township, for $51,878. Executive Landscaping was one of two bidders submitting proposals for the work.

In addition, the committee discussed options for the Campbell Library building. The library and Campbell City Schools reached an agreement in June to collaborate on a new branch to serve the community to be located in the district’s proposed Activity Recreation Cultural Center.

Representatives of the library will conduct a walk-through of the building – which the system closed due to a falling roof — with Campbell Mayor Nick Phillips to gauge any interest the city might have in the property, Merriman said. Demolition of the building remains an option, if necessary, according to the committee.

A request for qualifications for the library’s space in the center is due Sept. 6.

A Library Express will open Sept. 11 in the district’s D’Amato Field House to serve the Campbell community until the new center is complete, Janet Loew, communications, public relations and marketing director for the library, said.

“The Library Express will have library materials, plus three public access computers and comfort seating and tables for those who want to sit and read or do quiet work,” Loew said.   

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