January 20th, 2011

Lots to report, and most of it good — The Library Board went with our first option offered at last night’s Board meeting, and these were part of the comments made by EPLF president, Ellen Newcomer:

“We must also be true to the members of EPLF, who include 2000 individuals and families who care greatly about the library, including the North and South Branches. What I say tonight is not a personal agenda or that of a small group; it is the position and values of thousands of Evanstonians.

We respect and support the Library Board’s decision to take this year to do long range planning for the Library. It is, as we all know, overdue. But it is our hope that your planning will build on the Library’s strong existing neighborhood services and patron base, rather than destroying, disregarding, or disrupting either.

Our written offer to the Library Board contains two options. “Option One” is the one that the Friends vastly prefer. That option is as follows: that the Friends will find, build out, and pay the rent for interim space in the Main/Chicago Corridor for a transition branch while the Library Board does its planning and determines the eventual location of neighborhood services. We are also willing to raise some funds for staffing, and will offer volunteers to assist in the modest tasks attendant to such an interim site that you deem appropriate. Also, the interior of this space could be constructed with an aim toward preserving and re-using the furniture, bookcases, and the like in an eventual more permanent neighborhood library location.

We have already done a comprehensive search of available rental space in the Main/Chicago area and believe we have located at least three sites that would work. EPLF could literally perform this offer as a “turnkey” for the library; EPLF would rent the space in its name, do the build out and preparation, and then sublease the space to the library for a dollar a year. Our offer is not contingent or conditional on the continued operation of such a site beyond 2011.

The advantages of Option One are apparent. An important part of the Library’s patron base would continue to be served. The Library could direct EPLF to prepare and build out an innovative space, which could serve as a worthy experiment for future neighborhood services. Having helped the Library in this way, the Friends could redouble their efforts to provide book outposts in multiple locations in Evanston, and could open a modest storefront on the west side of Evanston to collect, sort and distribute books and to serve as another location for the Library’s neighborhood outreach and programming.”

There is obviously still much to do. We’ll need everyone’s help and continued efforts. We want to thank the Board for their hard work, and faith in what we continue to try to do. With gratitude, onward.

One Comment (Leave a Reply)

  1. Gordon Guth (January 21, 2011)

    Glad to hear the success of your recent presentation. All branch libraries are far more important to the Local Evanston communities and are badly needed, Keep up the good progress!

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