Evanston Library Board members seem destined to continue the debate about whether to maintain the city's sole remaining branch library. But in the meantime, board member Ben Schapiro has turned up figures suggesting that Evanston has what amounts to a second library branch — in Skokie.
Schapiro says Evanstonians borrowed 8,503 items from the Skokie library last month — that's more than the 7,058 items borrowed from Evanston's own north branch library, and just over 12 percent as many as the 69,800 items borrowed from the main Evanston library downtown
By contrast, Skokie residents didn't make much use of Evanston's library, borrowing just 709 items here.
Schapiro says the numbers have stayed pretty consistent over the past year or more and that the closure of Evanston's south branch library this spring doesn't seem to have had much of an impact.
Skokie library officials apparently aren't thrilled about the imbalance in patronage with Evanston and reportedly have imposed a three-items-at-a-time borrowing limit on Evanstonians.
Figures from the Institute of Museum and Library Services show that Skokie spends 162 percent more per capita than Evanston on its library, but only gets 81 percent more circulation per capita than Evanston — and for both libraries that includes books checked out by non-residents.