Evanston Public Library trustees Wednesday night appointed Karen Danczak Lyons to serve as the next director of the Evanston Public Library.

Lyons, who has been first deputy commissioner of the Chicago Public Library since 1993, is scheduled to start work in Evanston April 16..

Before the Chicago library system, she was the budget director of Chicago’s Office of Budget and Management, overseeing the city’s $3.2 billion budget.

Board Vice-President Susan Newman said in a news release, “As the Library continues to evolve, we are looking forward to Ms. Lyon’s vision in creating a Library with enhanced technology, innovative programming, and stronger community outreach.”

She holds a master’s in library and information science degree from Dominican University.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Karen Lyons

    I think the problem can be found with the director of the library, Karen Lyons. She came out of Chicago and most likely still lives there. She comes from the political land where it takes 4 people to change a light blub in a street light. You know, one person to hold the light blub and three to turn the ladder. She is compulsive about making her mark on the library no matter how angry it makes the taxpayers. What do you think they are going to do with 7 more employees. Maybe they need a couple to lead the zombie walk, teen exercise. or educating entrepreneurs. These are all the reason we have a library. 

  2. Evanston is lucky to have Karen Danczak Lyons

    Hey Smart Guy – Evanston is LUCKY to have Karen Danczak Lyons! After years of mismanagement and little guidance, finally EPL is under the direction of a smart, motivated, clever, energetic and resourceful leader who is ready to bring our library into the 21st Century, despite a budget that continues to pale in comparison to our neighboring communities. Karen is a consumate professional and has not only an amazingly enthusiastic outlook, but the wherewithal to get things done — something our library has lacked for years. She did come out of Chicago where she was second in command of the library system and was also a budget director for the Mayor, so she knows libraries and she knows finance, two things our system desparately needs. It's so easy to stand on the sidelines and lob anonymous criticism as you've done here, but until you've worked side by side with this talented woman, as I have as co-president of EPL Friends, then you'd be smarter to keep your comments to yourself as they are uninformed at best and libelous at worst.

    1. Comparison of libraries

        As often occurs, Evanston taxes/budgets for libaries and other services are compared with other cities—and posters find us wanting.

        Comparisons with Skokie, Wilmette, Highland Park, etc. and many more are not comparable.

        For the most part they have a more homogeneous population by race, income [probably their lower class is on a par with Evanston's middle class], educational level and don't have the wide budget item span from paying stores to locate there, gifts to 'picked winners', city zoning and regulations that tie up business and discourage business, buying building to fix [or not] for affordable housing, building affordable housing, high crime that requires more resources, etc..  Maybe an Oak Park would be a better comparison or college towns like New Haven, Berkeley CA, NY/Harlem diistrict..

      I suspect if northern Evanston say east of McCormick, NU, east of Greenbay and north of Church, would break off into NewEvanston, the 'new' library would be able to raise the taxes to rival Skokie and Wilmette. But this is not likely to happen.

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