Public Library Receives Nearly $332K to Expand Culinary, STEM Programs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County recently received two grants totaling nearly $332,000 through the Ohio Department of Education’s Libraries Accelerating Learning Program.

PLYMC and Salem Public Library were awarded $179,863 to purchase two Kitchen a La Cart mobile kitchens. They will use the Main Library’s Culinary Literacy Center to develop a curriculum to cook healthy food while developing stronger literacy, resiliency, math, teamwork, kitchen safety and sequence skills. The program will then be used with the kitchen carts at various PLYMC branches and the Salem library.

“PLYMC is thrilled to partner with Salem Public Library on this wonderful program to help provide vital skills to some of our youngest library patrons throughout the Valley at their local library branch because we know not everyone can attend a culinary program at our Main Library’s Culinary Literacy Center,” said Erin Phemester, PLYMC chief experience officer.

“Especially as families are looking to make healthier choices in the new year and involve their kids in the kitchen, we are pleased to present new classes and programs on learning and working together,” Phemester said.

PLYMC and Salem Public Library are preparing the curriculum and plan to deploy the kitchen carts in the following weeks.

“Salem Public Library is excited to join forces with PLYMC to offer some of our youngest Valley residents the chance to learn about cooking and help them create a healthy foundation in the kitchen by teaching about and through food with culinary literacy programs,” said Brad Stephens, Salem Public Library’s director/fiscal officer.

PLYMC also received a $152,038 First Lego League Grant to purchase Lego Spike Education Essentials kits and iPads to help second- through fourth-graders explore the fundamentals of engineering with Legos and learn to design and code and create solutions to real-world problems. The grant will also fund one full-time staff position for two years to support the increased programming.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.