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Branchers halt fundraising for library branches

A leader of a pro-branch library advocacy group told the Evanston Library Board Wednesday night that the group is no longer willing to raise funds to support the branch libraries.

Branch backer Michael Tannen, right, reviews documents at the library board meeting.

Michael Tannen, following a strategy recommended by pro-branch library aldermen at 6th Ward meeting Tuesday night, said that henceforth the EPL Friends group would only raise funds to support growing the library’s collection of books and other materials.

But he added a caveat that the Friends would provide that fundraising help "only if the branch libraries survive."

Tannen and other members of the friends group have been a prime moving force behind the Library Board’s effort to assert its independence from City Council oversight and increase the property tax burden on local residents to maintain and possibly expand branch library operations, despite a financial crisis that has the city facing a $3 million funding gap in its proposed 2011 budget.

Money raised by the branch supporters is being used to keep the branches open this fall, after the City Council early this year said it could only fund them for six months.  

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