Public Library Presents New Look of Pop-Up Library

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A $50,000 grant has allowed the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County to introduce its newest vehicle in its fleet of bookmobiles, , a modified Sprinter van that can hold 1,700 books.

The van, signage identifying it as a Pop-Up Library, was parked on the front lawn of the main library Wednesday morning as the executive director of the library, Heidi Daniel, and her staff showed off the white van, 24 feet long and nine feet high that cost $150,970.

While the van can hold and transport 1,700 books, it will be used primarily to lend books in areas of Mahoning County not that close to any of its branches and serve pupils in all city schools, especially those in kindergarten to third grade, Daniel said.

“We’re focused on areas with the highest need,” Daniel said. “This outreach program is particularly important in reaching people who don’t use the library and those in underserved [rural] communities.”

The Pop-Up Library is another tool in Youngstown City Schools’ efforts to meet the third-grade reading guarantee, the state goal that all children can read at a third-grade level before they enter fourth grade.

On display yesterday was a brightly lit interior with shelves on both sides that displayed books, magazines and DVDs, all of which are available to be lent.

The pupils can borrow one or two books at a time from the Pop-Up Library and return them to their school library, Daniel said. Should the pupil use his fine-free card to borrow a book and not return it by its due date, the fine will be forgiven as long as the book is returned.

The first pop-up library was set up on the first floor of 20 Federal Place shortly after Daniel was named executive director three years ago, she said.

At its stops, the newest van will have on board at least one librarian who can answer reference questions and see that books absent from that Pop-Up stop reach the patron soon after.

Patrons can sign up for a library card as well.

Today the Pop-Up Library will be at Norton Manor, off McGuffey Road and Saturday at the East Side Better Block, a project of Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.

The $50,000 grant that allowed the public library to buy the vehicle came from Board of the State Library of Ohio, which awarded $158,062 to be shared by seven public library systems across Ohio.

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County received the maximum allocation.

And yes, Daniel said, when they’re available, children can borrow a pop-up book from the Pop-Up Library. The library keeps very few because the cardboard pop-outs are fragile and easily broken.

Pictured: Heidi Daniel, executive director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahnoning County, Hayley McEwing, supervisor of community outreach, and  Michael Ludwick, head clerk of outreach services.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.