Main Library will be closed on Sat., Aug. 29, to prepare for an event. Phone calls will be accepted that day.
The Literary Society event featuring Louise Penny is sold out
Library Branch at Mill Creek MetroParks will be closed during Canfield Fair, Sept. 2-7

Libraries Connect-Blog

Teens-What Are You Reading?

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Have a book you're really into? Pass it on!

Leave a comment to let everyone know about great books and authors you love. Tell us why you like them. 


Click on "Comments" to read a comment or post one.


First, click on "Sign Up" (for new members) or "Login" (for current members).  Trouble logging in? Email


Let's Talk Books

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Let's Talk BooksLet's Talk Books!
Who doesn't love a good book? We love reading them and listening to them--and sometimes do both when the book captures our imagination! When we've discovered a good book, we want to pass that reading joy on and so we love to make book recommendations to people we know. It's a game of sorts, isn't it? Who would like this thriller we just stayed up all night to finish reading? Who had the same experience shared by characters in that great coming-of-age story? Who loves to knit and would enjoy that novel about a knitting club?


The thing about book recommendations is this: if you make them, you usually love to get them in return. And if you give one, you usually get three or four! Here is a forum for sharing your book recommendations as well as your comments about books and reading. So here we go... What are you reading?

Why I Love My Library

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Tell us why you love your library! Share your library story here. (Problems using this blog? Email

Internet World

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It’s an Internet World: The Library is More Vital than Ever

The world of information, the way it is generated and accessed, has changed and continues to change. So have libraries.

People need the Internet, but not everyone has it. Today, the Library has become the primary source of public broadband access in our society. That’s important when you consider two facts. First, nearly 54,000 households in Mahoning County do not have broadband Internet access. Second, to control costs, businesses and all levels of government continually move what they do to the Internet. Ads appear daily telling us to go online for one thing or the other. The continual push of people to the Internet is being done with little regard for the thousands of people that don’t have broadband access, or for the public library -- the institution that provides Internet access to those without it.

Internet access isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Where do the people in those 54,000 households go to prepare resumes and apply for jobs, sign up for the Medicare Rx drug program, do their taxes, check out product information, and do school assignments? Many come to a Library; many need help because they lack basic computer skills.

It’s an online world. Nearly half of top U.S. retailers only accept job applications online. You must go online to apply for unemployment benefits, to complete the FAFSA application for college aid or to get to the National Institutes of Health, one of the most reliable, nonbiased sources of medical information. Want to take advantage of a new government-supported program that provides a free cell phone and monthly airtime to low-income people? To apply, you have to go online.

Lost in a sea of information. There is so much to read, view and hear. The amount of information available to us has exploded. As a society, we are awash in information. Many people are lost. They need help to find the bit of information they heard about someplace. People often don’t know if what they need is in a book, a DVD or hidden away in a corner of the Internet you can’t locate with Google. Day in, day out, we see people struggling with all of this. The Library is the place where many of them turn for help.

It would be wise to recognize what the Library truly is: the place where people connect to the knowledge they need to function in society. World-famous scientist Carl Sagan put it well when he said.
“The health of our civilization… and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.” 

Share your thoughts with us:
Do you have Internet access? Have you noticed the increasing number of times you have to go online for something important? Did you know the Library has high-speed Internet access available for free? Comment here or pick up a flyer in any public library in Mahoning County to give us your input.

Reading important in learning AND economy

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The Impact of Reading to a Child Touches Areas from Success in School to Economic Development

As a country, we care deeply about our children.  Nurturing and seeing them develop to their full potential is something we hold dear.  We cherish watching as they discover themselves and the world around them.  The times we spend sharing a book with a child are among our fondest memories. 

Reading with children even impacts our economy:  At the library we have seen parents, grandparents and caregivers bringing children in for their earliest reading experience for decades.  It seems like libraries have been doing story times for children forever. People have long recognized the educational value of teaching a child to read. But few realize that these simple acts of reading with children are also powerful and effective tools of economic development.  Economists at the Federal Reserve have stated that investment in education of children at an early age can reap extraordinarily high economic returns, benefits that are low-risk and long-lived.  Indeed, the Federal Reserve says it is a far better investment than the billions of dollars spent each year on high-risk economic development schemes. 

Skills are needed for success: Nearly a decade ago, the library in Mahoning County was inspired by research from the National Institutes of Health on how reading impacts the development of a baby’s brain.  Simply put: To be successful in school, and in life, there are skills a child needs to develop.  Developing those skills starts at the very beginning.  For a child to be successful in school, they need to know how to read.  Being able to read depends on knowing words.  Before you discover words, you need to know letters.  Knowing letters means you have to recognize shapes. 

Once you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up:  Sadly, most who fall behind never catch up.  And the cost of that failure is high to all of us.  That’s why a growing number of policymakers, business leaders, and philanthropists have embraced early literacy as a priority.  They’ve recognized a simple truth. Children are born ready to learn, but not ready to start school. 

A different approach to serving children: Some years ago, the Mahoning County library system reinvented its approach to serving children. Librarians were trained in early childhood development skills. As a next step, we included parents and caregivers. Through grants and partnerships with other organizations, the Library created special tools to help parents and caregivers create successful readers.  In a break from past traditions, parents and caregivers were invited to join their children in story times.  In those story times, librarians model the behaviors which embed these early literacy skills in their children.  The library conducts thousands of story times every year and works directly with providers of childcare in all parts of Mahoning County. 

Libraries reach more children: In our society there are many wonderful people and initiatives working with children.  But there are none working as directly and continuously as the public library with as many children from such an early age and from such widely varying backgrounds. Income doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you live.  The only requirement is caring about improving the life of a child.  Story times start at only a few months old.  And they continue through age five. With this new awareness, the next time you see a story time advertised, you’ll recognize the serious purpose behind the fun.

Sadly, much of this is in jeopardy.  The rapid loss of state funding in 2009, following a steady decline by the state that actually began a decade ago, puts the Library's work with children at risk.  The services that the community presently receives may no longer be sustainable. There is a lot at stake for the people of Mahoning County in the decisions facing the Library and the community, as we plan for the future in this climate of diminishing funds.


 Share your thoughts with us:  Are library programs that encourage the development of children worth supporting? Do you take your child to a library?  Did reading at an early age have an impact on your child?  What has the Library's early literacy program meant to you? Has a librarian made a difference in your child's life? What are your thoughts about using story time as a way to educate parents and caregivers?    Should they be set aside? Comment here or or pick up a flyer in any public library in Mahoning County to give us your input.



Where we were-where we're going

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Libraries Connect People With Information

Connect with Your Library by Sharing Your Thoughts with Us
(Library planning info >>click here)

When the people of Mahoning County voted last November, they showed that "I Love My Library" is more than a phrase.  Over 71% voted to support the library.  That support is deeply appreciated.  We thank you! 


What you should know: The November renewal levy was important because it kept in place the library’s only source of funding that has been stable.  Being a renewal, it did not raise taxes, which means the levy did nothing to fill the financial hole created when $2.24 million in funding was lost in 2009.  The Library has been filling the hole by reducing spending and continuing its quest of many years to be more efficient.    


Cost-cutting measures already taken: Spending cuts were implemented and 30 employees (15% of the work force) lost their jobs. As a result, hours that libraries could be open were reduced across the county.  Funds to purchase books, newspapers, and others things that people use were reduced.  The practice of setting aside funds to repair and upgrade old buildings and to replace aging technology was eliminated.  Every employee gave back on wage.  All of those reductions did not total the amount needed to make up for the lost revenue. 


Revenues expected to continue to drop: The story of rapidly declining revenue did not end in 2009.  We expect in 2010 that revenue will drop by another nearly $900,000.  The library entered 2010 knowing that before the end of this year it would need to find a way of coming up with the rest.    


Decisions needed:  Over the course of the coming months the people of Mahoning County will be hearing a lot about the choices the library faces.  We will also be sharing more specifically what’s at stake that may not be widely recognized or understood.


We want to hear from you: There is a lot at risk for the people of Mahoning County in the decisions that lie ahead of us.  We believe that it is important that the people in our community understand why. And we believe it’s important for those responsible for operating the Library and setting policy listen to what people have to say.


Connect with your Library by sharing your thoughts: As we plan for the future and discuss those choices, we want your input. You can sign in here to post a comment. Also hard copies of comment forms are available at your nearby public library.

Watch for another blog next week.


Let's get started: Tell us what you think about the information in this blog. Did you know the levy did not ADD money, but just maintained a current stream of funding? Did you know about all the cuts that have been made?  Is there more information you want?


Please Note: This blog is intended to provide information and receive constructive comments from the public. The Library reserves the right to remove posts which are not in keeping with the purpose of the blog.