Published February 6, 2009
The newest Youngstown public library on the corner of Market Street and Midlothian is quite impressive. I walked into a bright, airy, foyer with an area for pamphlets and community information to the right and a future cafe (nice touch!) to the left. Once within the enclave of the library itself, various computer stations are organized in the center area. It was energizing to see all the children working on the computers in groups or alone. The entire layout and atmosphere was inspiring. I was just filled with joy to see all the technology, books, cd's and dvd's there for the children to explore. It reminded me of how I felt as a child every time I entered the library.
There are so many nice touches to this library and everyone should visit it to see the thought put into it. I especially liked the private, story time area for young children. Information about the Baby Brilliant program was there for parents to learn more about the importance of reading to children. This section is enclosed which means that babbling little ones won't disturb others in the library. It is brightly colored with comfortable areas to sit making it even more inviting for parents and children with plenty of space to sprawl out with strollers, blankets and all the accessories young children need. I'm just thrilled with this library and hope the neighborhood takes advantage of this new resource.
Baby Brilliant To-Go Kits - what a great idea! I picked up a pamphlet on this program which includes books, music cd's and toys for children depending on their age group. They are designed to help reinforce the development of preliteracy skills. I can't wait to reserve my kit and see what it entails. Unfortunately for me, my 2 year old has become a control freak when I try to read to her (she wants to read to me or hold it) which has forced me to be more creative when trying to read a book with her. I have learned to read whatever passages I can manage, twisting my head to sneak a look at the page. Lately, it is more a game of "What color is Lightening McQueen?" or I make up my own version of the story instead of truly reading the book.
This library and it's design certainly is a sparkling gem in an area that needs help and a much needed facelift (too bad the classic Newport Theater is demolished - would have been a cool indie/foreign film venue). It would be nice if the owners of Handel's did something to make their original location nicer which could lead into a spiraling of projects to update the area (think shaded cafe tables, some flowers, anything would make that white box building look better). I don't believe in giving up on these neighborhoods and think that more projects to demolish the barren businesses that line Market Street while replacing areas with new buildings or green spaces is a great start.
In case you haven't visited the library in a while, you can now look for books and reserve them online! For anyone time challenged, this is a great resource. You will even be e-mailed reminders to return books or notifications that books are ready at the requested branch.
Hopefully, people from all over the Mahoning Valley will stop into this great building (it also has meeting rooms) and see the childrens' brightly lit faces. It doesn't matter where children and citizens of our area live. Everyone deserves good books to read, learn, escape and dream.