The Evanston Library Board was presented Wednesday evening with a proposed 2017 budget that calls for a 2.2 percent increase in its baseline budget, plus an additional 1.4 percent in recommended adjustments.

Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons explained that increases in the baseline budget essentially provides for bare-minimum funding to maintain the existing service level, while the adjustments are recommended enhancements to that budget.

If approved, the baseline budget would increase from $6,997,142 this year to $7,150,886 for 2017. If all the recommended adjustments were accepted, that would increase the budget an additional $99,360, Lyons said.

The adjustments would include a part-time professional reading specialist to support literacy efforts ($17,494), a part-time data/project management assistant in administration ($23,866), a full-time social worker, contracted through Presence Health, to help homeless or near-homeless patrons find the care that they need ($33,000), and the services of a developer to create a web-based portal to support the library’s summer programs ($25,000).

In addition to the budget items, Lyons proposed a number of capital projects that would be funded through a combination of grants and bonds.

These projects, totaling $3,774,500, would include interior renovations at the main library; construction of a branch library at the Robert Crown Center; North Branch roof and gutter replacement, weather proofing and asbestos abatement; and a back-up generator for the main library.

Some $250,000 in Phase 2 renovations at the library parking garage would be paid for out of the Parking Fund, Lyons said.

In the pipeline for the capital plan for fiscal year 2018 are additional projects at the Main Library and the Crown Center branch totaling $5,450,000, Lyons added.

This was the first look at the 2017 budget for the Library Board. It will be a subject for discussion at upcoming meetings on Sept. 21 and Oct. 19, Lyons said, with final approval slated for Nov. 16.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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