By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
What do you do when you finish a puzzle? Take it to the library and swap it.
On the second Wednesday of every month at the Boardman library, puzzle lovers can swap a puzzle they’ve completed for one they’d like to work on.
It’s a growing event, said Deborah Liptak, coordinator, at the Sept. 11 swap. The library has offered the program for three years. It’s always offered at the Boardman branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County because it’s centrally located, Liptak said.
As people arrive with puzzles, Liptak takes them and spreads them out on long tables in the meeting room. After they’re all laid out, participants take their bags and boxes and choose as many new puzzles as they brought to swap. Any leftover puzzles are sold in the Friends of the Library Bookstore located in the Poland branch.
The puzzle swap “is really a lot of fun,” Liptak said.
Puzzles should be in “tip-top, excellent condition,” Liptak said. “If you wouldn’t want it in your house, I don’t think you’d want to bring it here.”
Boxes should be taped shut, so pieces aren’t lost, and ideally, pieces should be placed in a plastic bag, she added.
Sisters Grace Nannay and Betty Johnson regularly attend the puzzle swap.
“We meet new people every month,” Johnson said. “And we like working the puzzles, bringing them in and exchanging them.”
Johnson said she can complete two 1,000-piece puzzles or four 500-piece puzzles in a day.
“It calms my nerves,” she said.
Johnson looks for puzzles with horse, unicorn, or cat themes, while Nannay likes bird, Native American and wildlife themes.
Nannay said that, like her sister, working puzzles is calming for her. The pair has completed puzzles since they were children.
“We even race, sometimes, doing them,” Johnson said.
The largest they have completed was 5,000 pieces. It took two weeks of every day work by both of them to finish it.