On Jan. 23, a special meeting was held at Ursuline Preschool on Shields Road to unveil the plans for the new Canfield library. Close to 50 residents and civic leaders attended the event and learned first-hand what the new library will look like and feature.
Library Executive Director Heidi M. Daniel opened the informal meeting by giving a brief summary of how the plans had come to this point. She said a new Canfield branch has been in the making for over a decade.
"In early 2012, Carlton Sears (library director at that time) held meetings to get input for the new library," Daniel said. "The community wanted it to be close to the Village Green and serve as a hub in the community."
Photo courtesy of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County
An artist's drawing of what the new Canfield library branch will look like from West Main Street. The colors are for accenting the features and do not reflect the final color palate for the new structure.
She said residents and patrons wanted it to serve as a place to come together both formally and informally. They also wanted to see a diversity of offerings and services.
To present the plans, Daniel relied on architect Ronald Cornell Faniro, of Faniro Architects Inc. of Youngstown, who worked on the finished plans. He gave a slide presentation showing the design as it would appear from all sides. The new Canfield library will be 18,135 square feet or roughly four times the present library that was built in 1969.
Faniro said, "The Village Green defines Canfield, as does the historic character and the resident's concept of community."
He said those characteristics were at the forefront when it came to designing the building. One way Faniro said it will connect to the Village Green is through the walkway that Farmer's National Bank put in from the Village Green to its parking lot. The new library will continue the walkway right to its doors.
Included in the new library will be a spacious shelving area to hold the collections of books and videos, as well as plenty of table and seating space to read and study at.
There also will be a computer area with eight computers available, a youth library and a teen library. The librarian's desk will be centered in the middle of the building. On the west side of the structure will be some rooms that residents had asked for.
"The community was interested in having a place to gather and in the library branch being connected to the community," Daniel said. "To that end, this new design includes a multi-purpose meeting room, a community living room area, and an adult area small meeting room."
The largest meeting room will hold 175 people and can be used for everything from stage performances, seminars and to even show films. A smaller meeting room was set up to hold around 30-35 people and could be separated through a glass panel from the rest of the library.
Faniro said the meeting rooms can be separated from the library, and therefore could be used after library hours. He said events such as First Night Canfield could hold a venue at the new library.
The entrance from the parking lot will also serve as a gathering point with ample seating and a place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee.
On the exterior, several outdoor seating areas will be included to allow patrons to check out a book and go outside to read it.
As for parking, Faniro said zoning required 60 spaces, but the design is set to handle 94. It will have entrances off both East Main Street and Lisbon Street, which brought up the concern of cut-through vehicles.
"We will install some [speed-dampening] devices to make sure vehicles are going slow," Faniro said.
As for when the project is set to begin, Daniel said the hope is to break ground in late summer or early fall, and then finish in about a year. The present library at 43 W. Main St. will be demolished along with the homes on either side.
Daniel said, "We are very excited about this design and feel it will blend in well with the community and the library's surroundings. We asked for the community's thoughts in many community conversations which have taken place over the past several years, and are pleased that we were able to say "yes" to much of the input we received. We wanted to capture what was most important to the community, and I believe this design does just that."
Faniro added, "I drove around neighborhoods to acquaint myself with the community and made observations to inspire the design. We went to great lengths to present a face on Main Street that would blend in with the current scale of the existing streetscape, and to create a building with character and with spaces that could be used in different ways for both the library and the community-at-large."
The library will also have a capital campaign in conjunction with this project. The goal is $500,000. The cost of the building project, including construction, furnishings, landscaping, site work and extras, is estimated at $4.9 million.
Daniel pointed out that the Canfield library project has been in the works for over a decade and the Library Board of Trustees has been saving the money for this project. The library operates debt-free and pays for projects without bond issues or loans, which are costly.
As for the construction time, Daniel said they are still working out the fine details with Mill Creek MetroParks, who agreed to allow a small library to be set up at the farm on Ohio 46 so patrons can pick up ordered materials.
A small childrens collection also would be available during construction.