Wow! We did it. Together.

September 20th, 2012

Last night the Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to bring The Mighty Twig into the Evanston Public Library system, starting January 1, 2013. The library will become the EPL Chicago-Main Library.

EPL Director Karen Danczak Lyons said that this move is part of an ambitious plan that can bring great rewards:

“It’s an opportunity to confirm our commitment to thoughtful neighborhood services” and meets “an urgent need to serve children, new immigrants and seniors. All of Evanston deserves innovative, creative and compelling library service.”

In addition to serving the Chicago-Main neighborhood, EPL will study neighborhood services throughout Evanston. Funding for these efforts will include a plan for individual and corporate fund-raising as well as grant acquisition. Partnerships will be explored. Evanston Public Library Friends will join in these efforts.

Even though library services have been hit hard throughout the country, here in Evanston we’ve proven that we do what it takes to keep innovation in library services alive and well.

What about The Mighty Twig? How will it change?

– First, a transition plan.
– Next, more complete library services including holds, pick-ups, returns, and assistance from EPL library staff.
– EPLF volunteers will remain a crucial component of Chicago-Main Library operations.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen — donors, volunteers, Twig patrons, library staff and the EPL Board of Trustees.

The Mighty Twig is Open, and Amazing!

March 28th, 2011

So, an amazing thing happened on Saturday, and we’re proud you played a part in it. One month ago the Evanston Library Board voted not to fund the continuation of the South Branch Library. Undaunted, EPL Friends stepped up and decided to fund our own experimental space while the Library Board continues its visioning process. Without missing a beat, or running the risk of losing the interest and enthusiasm of our members and the SB community, EPL began work in an empty storefront at 900 Chicago Ave. That space, less than one month later, became the Mighty Twig. Smaller than a branch, (but mighty) the Twig provides kids and adult books, internet, computers, storytime and a community space for everyone.

More than 500 people came to check out the Twig on Saturday, and more than 300 of you took out books on our Honor system of lending. No cards, no fines, no fees, no fooling. Kids fill out a reading log to help them (and parents) get into a good habit of being responsible for the books they check out, and to help parents know which books they are looking for amongst the dust bunnies under their beds.

We’re thrilled — seriously couldn’t be happier — with the initial community reaction, and we hope that this success will carry over as a model that makes sense for elsewhere in Evanston.  If you haven’t seen the space yet, you have to come by. Twig is open Tues – Sat. 10 – 5, with later nights until 8PM on Thursdays beginning in mid-April.  Check out some of our press here: Evanston Now, Trib Local, take a video tour with Evanston Patch .

Lots of things are still in motion for The Mighty Twig, and we still welcome donations of time, books, and financial contributions. All in, we figure it costs approximately $154 per day to run the Mighty Twig, with our entirely volunteer staff.  We welcome your input and suggestions and thank you for your continued support!

3…2…1… Twig opens in 3 days!

March 24th, 2011

Mighty Twig volunteers get MT ready for her debut performance on Saturday

We had more than 83 volunteers come out to help us last Friday and Saturday, with more than 420 volunteer hours logged over the course of the two days as people cleaned and labeled and shelved our collection at the Mighty Twig.

This week we’ve had about 10 people there every day putting the finishing touches in place, and it’s enormously gratifying to see such strong community support. It’s remarkable the stuff that Evanston is made of.

The Grand Opening fast approaches on Saturday and Team Twig continues to inspire! Today’s Library Heroes of the Day… Cheryl Chamberlain and Ed Lally who custom-built our computer table extraordinaire! Cheryl’s worked tirelessly to whip the Mighty Twig into shape for Saturday’s grand opening. Come see it in action Saturday 10 – 5PM. Signs are up, rugs are down, books are ready to be read. Saturday’s the day… be there!


March 14th, 2011

It’s almost here…! The Grand Opening Event for Mighty Twig will be held:

Saturday March 26th

10AM – 5PM

Children’s Party

1PM – 3PM

Come Celebrate this Exciting Day with us. We know it’s a busy day around town with a number of other events also happening, but we hope you’ll take some time to swing by and say hello.

Making progress at the Mighty Twig

March 9th, 2011

Shelving arrived and is being assembled…

(thank you, Boston Street Lab for your generous generous donation, and your supervision of Situation Normal at the storage facility on the other end of their journey!) The Friends went quickly to work assembling the units — thanks to our volunteers, to Trish and our steadfast Board, and to Marcia Mahoney who’s going to single-handedly whip this thing into shape if it kills her! We’re looking forward to more volunteer help in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned, or volunteer some time 3/18 and 3/19 by emailing us at and let us know if you can help sort or stock, or stick labels.

we need books…

March 4th, 2011

Things take shape at The Mighty Twig

We’re rounding out our Children’s Collection with some classics, so if your kids have outgrown these favorites, please email us at, and we’ll come collect them.

Later this month, we’ll take other donations for use at The Mighty Twig as well as our other book drops at BooCoo, Ridgeville, Primm Towers and other reading hot spots around town.

Children’s Books Needed At EPL Friends’ The Mighty Twig

Picture Books

Treasured Authors

Verna Aardema (anything)

Niki Daly (anything)

Llama, Llama books, Anna Dewdney

Danny & the Dinosaur books, Syd Hoff

Amazing Grace books, Mary Hoffman

Alphabet City, City by Numbers, Stephen Johnson

Ezra Jack Keats  (anything)

Bob Books, Bobby Maslan

Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McClosky

Fancy Nancy books, Jane O’Connor

Truck Town books, Jon Scieszka

Dr. Seuss

Pete’s a Pizza, by William Steig

Grumpy Bird and BooHoo Bird, Jeremy Tankard

Jan Thomas – anything (but particularly looking for Birthday for Cow and What Will Fat Cat Sit On)

Mo Willems – anything (but particularly Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon books)

DK Eyewitness books (on any topic)

Picture Books about these topics:



Construction equipment

Animals (Wild, Zoo, & Pets)


Sea creatures (sharks!!)

Disney princesses

Dora and Diego

Easy Readers

These are the books with the numbered reading levels (#1, 2, 3) in the corners.  They are often called “Step into Reading,” “I Can Read,” or “All Aboard Reading.”



Juv Series Books

Magic Tree House

Captain Underpants

Goosebumps – Horrorland

Junie B. Jones

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Main Street

Beacon Street

Pet Fairies

Babymouse (graphic novels)

Lunch Lady (graphic novels)

Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, etc. (graphic novels about action heroes)

Juv Fiction

Ivy & Bean books, Annie Barrows

Allie Finkle books, Meg Cabot

Artemis Fowl books, Eoin Colfer

Niki and Deja books, Karen English

Sharon Flake – anything

John Feinstein – anything

Joey Pigza books, Jack Gantos

Alex Rider books, Anthony Horowitz

Mike Lupica – anything

Winnie Perry books (Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen …) by Lauren Myracle

Clementine books, Sara Pennypacker

Alanna/The Song of the Lioness books, Tamora Pierce

Adam Canfield books, Michael Winerip

Young Adult

Gemma Doyle trilogy, Libba Bray

House of Night series, P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins

Hazelwood trilogy, Sharon Draper

Shug, Jenny Han

Walter Dean Myers – anything

Cirque du Freak series, Darren Shan

Gossip Girl series, Cecily von Ziegesar

Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto (manga)

Dragonball Z, Akira Toriyama (manga)

Fruits Basket, Natsuki Takaya (manga)



Outpost ahead…

February 24th, 2011

Evanston Public Library Friends announce that work begins today at the new 900 Chicago Avenue, Suite 102 location, for Evanston Public Library Friends’ Outpost, despite the Library Board’s lack of support for the initiative at last night’s Library Board meeting. In the very near future patrons will be invited come see what’s in store, and the Outpost space is anticipated to open officially in mid-March.  Staffed by volunteers, the space will have a collection of donated books and other reading material for children and adults, as well as computers and internet access, and will be open to the public five days a week.

EPLFriends are thrilled to have found such a perfect interim space for the new Outpost at 900 Chicago Ave., and are grateful to Thomas Ahleman of Studio Talo for his pro bono design work, to Boston Street Lab for their generous offer of shelving, and to those who have so generously supported the Friends’ efforts to keep neighborhood services alive. As Library Board Trustee, and ILA President, Gail Bush has said, “continuity” is such a critical factor for libraries. While not a library in the traditional sense of the word, the Outpost will help to provide that continuity in a way that is innovative and forward-thinking.

“The Friends are deeply disappointed with the decision of the Library Board, but will maintain our commitment to provide this service to the Main and Chicago neighborhood,” said EPLF president, Ellen Newcomer.  “We hope that the books from South Branch, which have been purchased with Evanston taxpayers’ money, will stay in Evanston and help bolster our collection at the Outpost and as a distribution point for our other locations throughout the City.”

February 4th, 2011

Join EPL Friends at what may well be the last event ever hosted at the South Branch Library space.

We don’t mean to be nostalgic, (ok, maybe we do) but come have some fun and join us for a Valentine’s Day Celebration. Crafts, storytime, treats and a book for every child to take home. Saturday, Feb. 12, 1PM – 3PM.

Next up, join us at Ridgeville Park District on Monday, Feb. 21 10AM – 2PM, for a Children’s Open House, 908 Seward Street. Kids must be accompanied by a caregiver or parent. There will be cookie decorating, winter crafts, storytime and a take-home book for every child.

Find out more here.

Offers a-plenty!

January 22nd, 2011

This is how cool you guys are: The other night we sent an email to the group saying that we were going to be moving the South Branch to a new location and we might need some help, so please stay tuned. Within an hour we had three emails offering help from movers and an interior planner who offered their services! And we weren’t even asking (yet). So, now we are. If you think you can help, or know a business who may be interested in making a donation of goods or services, let us know by sending us a quick email at


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.