Ribbon cutting at the new Michael Kusalaba library

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The new Michael Kusabala library on Mahoning Avenue has a children's area that has been designed around educational and literacy standards, such as areas that work on motor skills and other sections that work on cognitive abilities.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Michael Kusalaba library features a MakerSpace for creative patrons of the library. The space combines technology and art. Pictured, Jeremiah Burt played the drums in the sound studio of the MakerSpace.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Michael Kusalaba branch of the PLYMC had a dedication ceremony on Feb. 24. The event featured a science display, a dedication, a ribbon cutting and a musical performance. Pictured, Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek and President of the Library Board of Trustees David Ritchie cut the ribbon for the library.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The dedication began with an invocation by Father William John Loveless of St. Brenden Catholic Church. Several speakers talked after the invocation, including Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek. Pictured, Jamael "Tito" Brown spoke about his love for the public libraries.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The dedication for the Michael Kusalaba library began at 10a.m. with a chance for the attendees to meet Booker Bear and a “Cool Chemistry“ science program by the OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology. Pictured, Silver Strings, a group from Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, performed after the ribbon cutting.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

The Public Library of Mahoning County had a dedication ceremony for the Michael Kusalaba library on Mahoning Avenue on Feb. 24.

The library officially opened on Feb. 14, but the event gave the public a chance to meet those responsible for bringing the library to the community. The public got a chance to learn about the technological spaces offered at the library and the large children’s center.

Many of the library representatives, including Library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek and Library Development Director Deborah Liptak, spoke about listening to the community’s desires to have a technology-based library.

“We offer the newest technology for public patrons in our system,“ said Stuart Gibbs, the supervisor of the Michael Kusalaba branch.

This new technology includes Playaway Launchpads, which is an audiobook service, and the newer GoChip, which allows movie streaming on multiple devices without internet. They have a laptop kiosk that allows patrons to use library-owned laptops within the building. In the teen area, they have an Xbox gaming system and large television. The library also offers a copier system with USB saving capabilities.

The library houses the Library MakerSpace, an area dedicated for community members to make and promote their art. The space has several sections.

The MakerSpace has a laser engraver that can engrave on wood, leather or glass, a button maker station where people can design their own three inch buttons, a lightbox to take professional photos of small items to sell on a website like Etsy or Craigslist and a media conversion station where the public can convert audio from cassettes and vinyl records onto CDs and video from videocassettes onto DVDs.

The library has computers in the MakerSpace with Adobe and CorelDraw software. Patrons can use the computers to design objects to be made with the library’s 3D printer.

The MakerSpace has a vinyl printer, which can be used to make banners, window cling or a poster. They also offer a heat press, which can place the design on a shirt, hat or mug.

The Michael Kusalaba library also has a recording studio in the MakerSpace where people can write and mix music, as well as record podcasts. They have an electric guitar, bass, electronic drum set, a MIDI keyboard and microphones. All the pieces connect to a computer, which has music editing software.

The library branch features an up-to-date children’s area as well. The designers of the library focused on adding literacy and educational aspects to the children’s area, using educational standards, such as problem solving and motor skills. They also created an interactive experience for the children with 3D touchpads for the children.

The dedication for the library began with a chance for the attendees to meet Booker Bear, the PLYMC mascot. The event continued with a “Cool Chemistry“ program by the OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.

The dedication began with an invocation by Father William John Loveless of St. Brendan Catholic Church proceeded by a welcoming speech by Dr. David Ritchie, the President of the Board of Trustees, followed by several other speakers, including Fifarek, Liptak, Youngstown Mayor Jamael “Tito” Brown, Mike Ray and Lauren McNalley. Ray is the 4th Ward Councilman and McNalley is the 5th Ward Councilwoman.

The speakers, other board members and library representatives lined up for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Silver Strings, a group from Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, performed music after the ribbon cutting.

The program for the event came with a written piece about Michael Kusalaba. He was an electrical engineer who served in the army and worked for Ohio Edison/First Energy and helped create the CASTLO Community Improvement Corporation. The PLYMC named the library after him because he set up a fund of $1.68 million with The Youngstown Foundation specifically for building a new library.

Along with the MakerSpace and children’s area, the library has books, movies and music like the other branches of the PLYMC. The building houses the PLYMC’s Pop-Up Library. The Michael Kusalaba library also has an area for teens, a public meeting room and two study rooms.

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