Mahoning libraries to extend hours

By Peter H. Milliken


Public-library hours will expand substantially beginning April 25 because of passage last fall of a 1.8-mill new library levy, the library system has announced.

The expansion will restore cuts in hours imposed in 2009 because of budget constraints.

The new schedule will restore Wednesday and Thursday evening hours at the main library on Wick Avenue and restore a full day of service at most branches of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.

Although the library hours won’t be increased until the day after Easter, the 16-branch library system has already received advances in four weekly installments totaling $2.36 milion on its new countywide operating and maintenance levy, which will generate about $7.2 million in annual revenue over the next five years.

The advances, requested by the library system, began with $487,000 on Feb. 18 and continued with $377,000 on Feb. 25, $679,000 on March 4 and $825,000 on Friday, said Anthony Magnetta, budget analyst in the county auditor’s office.

The February advances were based on receipts from early taxpayers in the first half real-estate tax collection, which closed March 4.

The delay in restoration of hours is due to the need to recruit, hire and train 12 clerks and six librarians for the expansion, all of whom must pass drug tests and background checks, Janet Loew, library communications and public relations director, said Friday.

The advances, which are common practice for levy recipients, allow the library to begin paying new hires and earning interest on some of the money, Loew said.

Library hours will be expanded by 17.5 percent, with 109 service hours added weekly for a systemwide total to 787 hours a week.

The Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, Campbell, Struthers and Brownlee Woods branches, which are closed Fridays, will reopen for a full day of service on Fridays.

The Poland, Newport and Sebring branches will again be open all day Mondays.

The West branch will regain Wednesday hours; and the East and Springfield branches will regain Thursday hours.

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