Evanston’s Library Board is scheduled tonight to vote on a proposed budget that would increase monthly spending by nearly 11 percent over this year’s rate.

The increase would be the result of providing full-year funding for both branch libraries — rather than the six-month funding approved for this year by the City Council — and by absorbing the cost of employee pay and benefit increases without making any staffing reductions.

Library Director Mary Johns is also suggesting $122,000 in expense reductions — mostly by cutting hours at the main library — which could reduce the budget increase to a little over 7 percent.

If the board voted instead to close the branches and make the administrative re-organization proposed by the library director, but did not reduce hours at the main library, the budget increase would be less than 2 percent.

The Library Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the community room at the library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

Related document

Library board meeting packet (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Library Budget

      The EPL-Main collection has deteriorated substantially and something needs to be done.

      It is obvious the branches have to be cut–they were suppose to ‘pay their own way.” And what happened to the $170,000 they supposedly raised—has that been turned over to the Board to pay for six months of operations and with the promise of the Friends to pay the costs, have they committed themselves to raising $170,000 for the next six months ?

      I’ve never heard why they dropped the 50 charge for inter-library loan.  I may be mistaken but did they not also use to charge $1 for rental books.  Surely both would help the budget.   In particular for all the romance, pop fiction and other literature(?) that seems to dominate the recent purchases, start the $1 rental back-up.  If the arts and sciences is not built up the library will rapidly deteroriate to a large study hall with a lot of pop novels.  If as parents implied for the branches, the libraries are necessary for the education of their children, then the libraries should re-orient their budget away from pop literature to the arts and sciences.  BTW I’ve yet to hear from the schools as to why their libraries don’t meet the students needs.


  2. Library Revenue

      Perhaps the library can rent out their space to groups more often.  I assume they do so now and collect some rental fees. 

       Maybe the economics don’t add-up, but with Davis, After Hours, Blockbuster closing or closed,  Video Adventures is [as far as I know] the only DVD rental in Evanston.   If the economics are there, I hope EPL purchased a good number of DVDs from these places before they closed—volume might get them discounts.   They should be able to make some net profit.  Even with Redbox and Netflix, there should still be a market.

      I’m told the Friends [not the Branch Friends I hope] sponsor the Book Sales and determine the prices.  The prices are nothing like they could make—-one example, even being told, they sold a 3 volume set for $3 which I know could sell for $150.  There are many other instances.  Yes pricing properly takes manpower but surely retired [or just citizen] educators or educated people could offer their fields expertise. 

  3. 7% of 4%

    You make it sound like the entire tax bill would rise by 7 to 11%. In fact the library portion is about 4%of the total tax bill so 7% of 4% equals what?

    Currently the branches cost each one of us $5.45 per year or about the cost of a big soda and a bag of chips! $420,000 (cost of the branches) divided by 77,000 (population of Evanston) equals $5.45.

    Our City Council wants us to believe that keeping the branches open will force people into foreclosure and then they raise the water bill by over $100 a year with almost no discussion and very little public comment. 

    And since it’s a "fee" rather than a "tax," no one gets any relief from it with federal taxes. And we’re paying for our sewers the same way with no tax relief.


    1. tax vs fee

      Tax exempts do not pay property taxes — but they do pay fees.

      Water and sewage are an example.


    2. Now that you explain it—

      So the branches only cost $420,000 [not the two times the Friends were told to raise].   Well that is nothing compared to our deficit—just joking.  To paraprhase an Illinois Senator, "here a $100 thousand, there a $100,000 and eventually your talking real money."

       To me $420,000 is real money.  What if every vestige of an organziation said "we only want $420,000 a year?"  We have a deficit that we must deal with.  Just because a few people want their branch in their neighborhood for their occasional visit, does not make it right.  I’d like a grocery story, drug store, Target, etc. within walking distance.  I’m not going to get it.  The Friends of the Library [certainly not of the budget or the population at large] want everything delievered to them.  They don’t want to walk, bike, or drive downtown to a good library [now with cuts that may take that reputation away] that $420,000 would certainly help.

      1. Other Evanston wards are getting better treatment

        If you think $420,000 is real money consider this:

        Evanston gave $170,000 to a group to build a museum about nine years ago in a building the city owns at 1817 Church. Nothing was done and the money is long gone. $170,000 down the drain.

        Now the city is trying to figure out what to do with 1817 Church that is worth money and they’re looking for someone else to GIVE IT TO!  Hey, what about selling it?

        Nahhh, instead the city THIS YEAR decides to buy  two vacant two-flat buildings around the corner from 1817 Church, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars more of your taxpayer’s money. And the city is trying to figure out what to do with those buildings. Yes, they bought those buildings WITHOUT A PLAN on what to do with them.

        Let’s not forget the $18 million in federal stimulus money to rehab and build new homes in the  neighborhood as well as D65’s proposal to spend $14-20 million for a new elementary school.

        It looks like the Fifth Ward is getting some preferential treatment and a lot of FREE money pumped into the area. And everyone’s moaning about the fact the Fifth Ward doesn’t have a branch library.


        1. 5th Ward gets more $$$$$$$

          You forgot to mention the 14 million this ward is getting to "improve" the intersection of Church and Dodge with decorative sidewalks, park benches, etc. This too will be at the doorstep of those buildings you mentioned. Can someone please tell these squeaky wheels that we are out of grease? Of course not….that would be insensitive.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.