Window Books Awareness Campaign Launches on Central Street

April 10th, 2010

More than 50 Evanston businesses in the Central Street Shopping District will be participating in a newly launched “Window Books” Awareness Campaign sponsored by the Evanston Public Library Friends, and conceived and implemented by Friends Charter Member, Ann Foster. The shops’ windows will feature a library book related to their business, along with a poster which reads: “There’s something for everyone at the Evanston Public Library.”

“When I mentioned the idea to a couple merchants as a possibility, they were quite positive. When I suggested it to the library staff, they were quite willing to cooperate with the EPLFriends and merchants. Voila, Window Books was born!” –Ann Foster

A 40 year resident of Evanston, Foster divides her time between writing a dissertation in Ancient History and freelancing as a contract archaeologist, when she’s not coordinating grassroots advocacy efforts. Foster spent countless hours over the course of three weeks and did hours of research to find just the right book for each merchant.

The library reflects the diversity of Evanston and it was a challenge to match a book with a merchant using this diversity, ranging from personal favorites to topics related to the business and ranging from children through adult audiences.

“I can’t write a big check, but I can give some time, energy, effort, and ideas to help. Just because one can’t give a lot of money, doesn’t mean one doesn’t matter, doesn’t mean one’s voice shouldn’t be heard, and doesn’t mean one can’t do something,” said Foster. “I didn’t want to wake up in six months to find the North Branch closed and I had not yet tried to do something.”


Once the pilot project on Central Street is completed, the Window Books displays will branch out to the other business districts in Evanston to show that the “Something for Everyone” claim is also true for the rest of the city.

“I grew up going to the EPL and have continued to use it throughout my life,” said Foster. “I am a regular user of the North Branch and find it a mainstay of the Central Street community that is my neighborhood. When I was growing up, we were taught in the Evanston Public Schools to make the world a better place. Wouldn’t it be a better world if everyone’s neighborhood had a library, and, even more so, that we expected it to?”

When Evanstonians from other parts of the city heard about Window Books, they wanted to do it in their neighborhood too. “And that seemed to be what this was all about, that the library reflects the whole of Evanston and we appreciate it and celebrate it,” said Foster.

Window Books expansion will begin with the South Branch neighborhood, further east and west on Central, and the area around the Main library, with the libraries as the nuclei for the program.
If someone wishes to participate, they have only to contact the EPLFriends at This can include, but is not limited to, a request from a business to participate in the program, a volunteer who wishes to help set up a program in his or her neighborhood, someone who can help think of books appropriate to different businesses, and others who can give an hour or two for whatever job needs doing that day. EPL Friends are planning to have a Window Books meeting for volunteers at the South Branch Library soon to start working on this second phase.

Do yourself a favor, take a wander down Central Street and find the books in the windows — it’s a fun game for kids [even those of us on the over 40 end of the spectrum!] and think, what can you do to help the libraries? All it takes is an idea…

Thank you Ann, for your wonderful idea and tireless dedication to Window Books!

Leave a Reply

(* required)
Email Address
( * required - will not be published)
Web Site
(* required)