The building has much more space and an activity room tailored for children.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- More than a year ago, library officials said out with the old Poland Library and began plans for a new one.
On Wednesday, officials showed off the new facility set to open later this month.
Library construction began last summer after the demolition of the old box-shaped building. The cost of the new building, which has four times the available space as the old one, is slightly more than $6 million.
Diane Varady, a 22-year employee of the library system working in the old library building, sat at a table in one of the new facility's reading areas with other library employees taking in the new surroundings. The crew is looking forward to working in the building even though added services such as Internet access and additional books will mean more work.
"This is absolutely gorgeous. The space is enormous. There is no comparison to the building. I just can't believe this is all situated on the same site as the old building," Varady said.
Overcrowding: Janet Loew, the library system's communications and public relations director, said the additional space is needed for the growing Poland community and surrounding areas. She said the crowded conditions were most obvious during the summer when many children's events would take place.
"The smaller building was really crowded, just busting at the seams, and the community was really using the facilities, so there was a definite need for more space," Loew said.
Initial problems with the slope of the land on the site made it necessary to add a lower level, giving the building even more available space, she added. It is that lower level that will contain three of the library's newest additions -- Chapters Cafe, Books by the Brook Bookstore, and the largest meeting room in the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County system.
The cafe, which will be operated as a separate entity from the library, will serve soups, sandwiches, specialty coffee and a variety of pastries. Two of the three owners are certified chefs and previously operated a similar cafe in Pittsburgh before moving back to the area.
The ground-level second floor will be the library's main section, complete with rows of bookcases, the information desk, and plenty of well-lighted tables for reading. There also is a Children's Activity Room with a stage and chairs designed for them.
There also are small balconies and large doors that can be opened to overlook Yellow Creek and the proposed walking path that has been partially put in place.
History: Library board trustees bought the former Poland Union Seminary Dormitory adjacent to the site and have incorporated its historic value into the new building. The buildings blend perfectly from the outside, but part of the older building's exterior was left visible from inside the library, letting patrons know it once was a building unto itself.
Loew said this section of the library will be used for book sorting, employee break rooms and all other "behind-the-scenes work."
The library also has a third level that overlooks the second floor. Loew said that level will be reserved for special events and if the library needs more room for expansion.