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Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County

Youngstown, OH

A total site and architectural transformation continues the Library’s mission as a community resource and destination (including for Youngstown State University Students) while acknowledging its historic legacy as a place “For the People”.

A building addition is featured in a new park setting, providing needed community meeting space and a unique culinary literacy kitchen. As libraries work to stay relevant, the site includes interactive and usable spaces, an event lawn and terrace, multiple seating areas with site wi-fi access, pavers with historic inscriptions about Youngstown, and safer pedestrian and vehicular circulation.

The site redesign accommodates programmed and unprogrammed uses as an extension of the Library interior, including workforce development fairs, revolving art displays, outdoor meeting and instruction, after-school programs and maker spaces, exercise classes, themed events, bands and performances, reading carts, book sales, and human-scale games like checkers and chess. Outdoor culinary demonstrations can be held, using food grown in the culinary raised gardens. Site vehicular redesign allows food truck access, while still allowing circulation through and out of the site.

A native rain garden filters parking lot runoff, with a stormwater educational channel visually showing how runoff is diverted to the rain garden, provides educational opportunities for visitors. Nearby parking spaces include painted dandelion puffs representing wind seed dispersal.