The Evanston Library Board has scheduled a special meeting for Aug. 4 at which it’s scheduled to consider a power play against the City Council aimed at forcing up to a 50 percent increase in taxpayer funding for city libraries.

The Evanston Library Board has scheduled a special meeting for Aug. 4 at which it’s scheduled to consider a power play against the City Council aimed at forcing up to a 50 percent increase in taxpayer funding for city libraries.

The appointed board seeks to take advantage of provisions in state law which members argue give it a claim on a separate tax levy of up to 0.23 percent of the equalized assessed value of property in the city.

City property values from 2007, used in preparing this year’s budget, would yield about $6.4 million in library revenue at that rate, compared to the $4.2 million in spending aldermen approved.

The city’s legal staff has argued in the past that the under the city’s home rule authority it is not obligated to approve the separate levy and can control the library’s funding — setting up a potential legal battle if the library board moves forward with the effort impose a separate tax.

The special meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4, in the board room at the library.

More details in this story from the Evanston Review.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Chickens Start to Come Home to Roost

      The Branch issue finally becomes obvious—to all who don’t look with rose color glasses—you can’t have everything.

       If you want branches, you have to increase funding or cut purchases, inter-library loans, staff, etc.. 

       Maybe first to cut would be all the novels.  That alone should reduce the collections and staff needed at the branches by 80%.   Since the supporters bemoan the loss of educational resources cutting the branches would bring, make them ‘education’ only—and cut the Jackie Collins et al novels.

       One look at the science section of the branches will convience anyone that the branches don’t exist for science.  Probably the same for computers, philosophy/psychology, religion, language, history. and even social science like political science [excluding the spate of Clinton, Obama, Franken, Gore, etc. voyeurism].

    • 000 – Computer science, information & general works
    • 100 – Philosophy and psychology
    • 200 – Religion
    • 300 – Social sciences
    • 400 – Language
    • 500 – Science (including mathematics)
    • 600 – Technology
    • 700 – Arts and recreation
    • 800 – Literature
    • 900 – History, geography, and biography
  2. Library cuts

    The Evanston "Public" Library has already cut staff and purchases. The Technical Services Dept. which orders, receives, catalogs and processes print and AV items was cut by 10 staff at the end of last fiscal year. The 7 staff members remaining do the work formerly done by twice that number. Technology helps, but purchases and cataloguing and processing continues to be slow.

    Closing the branches would decrease library circulation by at least 1/3—-which would allow for fewer purchases and perhaps more staff cuts…which would lead to slower processing, less circulation, more job cuts, etc. etc. Until there would be no library (but e-readers) left at all.

    Is that what Evanston wants? deserves? Let Evanstonians go to Skokie for their books and AV stuff, let’s "save money."

      1. Wilmette Library an Option for North Branch people

          For those who don’t like to go to the Main they can—-and many on the north side do—go to the Wilmette Library instead of burdening us with the cost of  the North Branch.  The Wilmette library has a much better selection of books than either branch, a childrens area that makes the branches pale in comparison, many more DVDs [I know some go there instead of even the Main] and lots of computers.

           If Wilmette feels that this would burden them, Evanston may be able to make a contribution to offset the costs and still be cheaper than the branches.

          For the woman who some time ago said she walked with her kids to the North Branch all the time, even thought the distance she gave would place her at  Lovelace Park, the Wilmette Branch would certainly be closer for her.

    1. Technical Services cuts

      Please allow me, as head of the Technical Services Department at Evanston Public Library, to correct a statement made by OaktonMom. The Technical Services Department was reduced by 6 people, not 10, for a total loss of 128.5 hours, or 4.76 FTEs. The adjustment has been a challenge for the remaining 7, but we are implementing new procedures which promise to reduce the backlogs and speed up delivery of new materials to our patrons.

  3. I Still believe in….

    …closing the branches (as well as making hard decisions in other cuts).

    For years, maybe even decades, Evanston has been fighting deficits in a city where we are used to having much. Downsizing may actually help in the end. Like spring cleaning – would love to keep everything. However after a purge,  was able to see and value what I have and the excess was not as important as first thought. From there, build, strengthen and form collaborations.

    Considering a Power Play?

    Forcing a separate tax levy?

    Me paying a separate levy on branches that do not serve my neighborhood – and a neighborhood that has been ignored? I think the time is long overdue to figure new outreach strategies that benefit all and not immediate neighborhoods.

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