Evanston’s Library Board recently has proclaimed its dedication to outreach to the city’s minority and low income communities.

But there was little evidence Wednesday night that those communities are buying into the outreach claim or see it as a reason to back the board’s effort to break free from the City Council’s budget oversight.

The sparse crowd for Wednesday night’s meeting.

The board went to the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center in the heart of the city’s historically black west side 5th Ward neighborhood and held what must be a contender for the whitest meeting ever in that building.

Of the roughly three dozen people in the room, the overwhelming majority were white. Of the African-Americans who were there, none spoke out for or against the plan.

While the library opened a temporary outpost this summer in the Dempster Plaza shopping center on the west side, for most of the past century its only two year-round branch libraries have been located in mostly white, relatively affluent parts of town.

Some board members at the meeting insisted that they’ve made no decision yet about whether to keep the existing branches open.

So, as the meeting was ending, some of the white folks who were there, including some north branch library supporters, got into a discussion about whether there would be any city-owned community meeting places left to serve the 7th Ward, if the north branch library on Central Street closed.

One woman in the audience said there would be none. A man contradicted her, saying there would be two — the Chandler-Newberger Community Center on Central Street and the Evanston Ecology Center at McCormick Boulevard and Bridge Street.

“No, that’s in the 5th Ward,” the woman insisted, referring to the Ecology Center.

That assertion came as a surprise to Alderman Jane Grover, who was in the audience for the meeting and has held 7th Ward meetings at the Ecology Center.

The center sits on the banks of the North Shore Channel, the waterway that divides Evanston neighborhoods racially. And it’s located at Bridge Street, which provides a link between the neighborhoods.

But the Ecology Center is on the northwest bank, on the white side of the divide, and the city’s ward map shows that — like Chandler-Newberger — it is indeed in the 7th Ward.

Related story

Race, class and library branches

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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22 Comments

  1. Slanted Reporting & Race baiting

    Once again Evanston Now continues to engage in race baiting and worse.  I’m not sure what your end goal could possibly be since it certainly doesn’t work for the betterment of our city or our community members. It’s divisive and unfortunate and impossible to understand. I can only guess that by continuing to write these types of blog posts you must increase your readership by stirring the pot, which then allows you to tout numbers for advertisers. Other than that, I can’t figure out why you would continue down this path to try to create animosity where it doesn’t exist, rather than working towards something which could help us all, a better public library system for ALL Evanston residents. 

    Anyway, I was at the forum last night and made the comments you refer to regarding community centers. If you do look at the Ward map, it’s unclear still to me where the Ecology Center sits. If anything, it’s on the border between the wards.

    But why your comments about African Americans in the crowd? What relevance is there? None whatsoever, and none that would support your implication that there’s little support for the library fund within that community.  

    The Library Board funded two summer reading programs WHICH HADN’T PREVIOUSLY EXISTED at Robert Crown and Fleetwood — maybe you should be asking the parents of the more than 250 NEW summer reading program kids if they appreciated or enjoyed that outreach.  City Council said they wanted outreach and the Library Board with the help of the Friends, delivered. City Council also asked for a Sustainable Funding model and the Library Board also delivered. There have always been outreach programs throughout the community, which can be detailed by the Library if you were so journalistic as to try to represent both sides of this issue fairly. I’m sure a long list is available, as I’ve heard it detailed to me by Martha Meyer, branch assistant.

    In fact, the Friends are currently heavily involved and invested in the West side and in continuing to deliver books and services to that neighborhood. In fact, you could stop by the West Side Farmer’s market any weekend where we’ve continued to support the efforts of that community. Or maybe you could interview Precious Wright, Director at ECDC (again, you’d have to put on your journalist hat) and ask about our efforts to learn how that community could be better served and deliver books to young and adult readers.  Right now we’re working with Boocoo to get shelving for free books. 

    The Library budget struggles (which have continued to be fueled by your agenda — whatever that may be) brought light to many issues. Among them, the fact that there could be a powerful, positive and influential force in the citizens of Evanston to work for better library services for ALL of the community. Whether that’s the free lending at the Levy Center, Book twirler shelves stocked by Friends and the Library at Robert Crown, participation and free book giveaways at the West side market or supporting the Seniors and young readers by allowing them access to a local, free, public neighborhood branch. And if that has to come about by the Library Board enacting a law which has been ignored by Evanston for years and invoking the Library Fund, so be it.  

    For a more fair reporting of what the library fund could mean for the citizens of Evanston, go to the Evanston Review editorial which supports the fund.  I will excerpt a key portion here, and see the link below for the full editorial:

    "Evanston residents should embrace his assertion and support the Evanston Public Library Board’s plan to adopt a funding model that offers the best option for providing a stable revenue source for that cultural asset."  you can go to Pioneer Local Evanston Review and Search "Library Fund"  

    To imply that meager attendance by one race or another at a mid-week evening meeting during the first week of school suggests a lack of support is disingenuous at best, and sinister at worst. I’m sure you’ll come back with some sort of support for your race-baiting claim, but me? I’m not buying it, and I think that most of our citizens are brighter than that as well. Bring it on Mr. Who Knows, or Anonymous Al, or any other unattributed nay-sayer. 

     

    1. Race not issue–Sham nature of the “forum” is

      Lori is right to say that the library discussion shouldn’t be about race.

       

      The real issue here is the fact that the Library Board is wholly unaccountable and unrepresentative of the community.  The board doesn’t even come close to representing Evanston’s diverse demographic and geographic profile.  If you look at the residences of the board members, there are none living in at least three of the city’s wards.  In terms of race and gender,  the board doesn’t even come close to being representative.

      The "Friends" group is even worse.

      I love how Lori presents the Friends as the defenders of the West Side.  She talks about how they "are currently heavily involved and invested in the West side."

      If a group were so "heavily invested" don’t you think you would have people from that neighborhood on the Board of the Friends of the Library?  If you look at where the Board of the Library Friends actually live, you will see that of the 11 members, somewhere around 9 live within two blocks of Central Street.  The other three  live within a block or two of the South Branch on such the lovely (and pricey) streets of Judson and Forest.

      The Friends of the Library is nothing more than a North Evanston neighborhood group.  There is nothing wrong with that, but let’s be up front about it.  They and the board don’t speak for the large majority of Evanston.

      People aren’t going to these "forums" largely because they are smart enough to recognize that they are nothing but a sham.  The fix is already in.  If the Library Board really cared about the public they would have scheduled these forums to get actual public opinion–which is how ethical elected and accountable bodies conduct themselves–before making a decision.

      Instead, they passed the funding change at a special meeting hastily arranged and poorly advertised.  Once people found out what they  were up to, they tried these BP-style PR shows to save face. 

      It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the board could have gotten its same authority though a referendum establishing a Library District with an elected board of trustees.  They didn’t because they knew it would go over like a lead balloon.

      Now is the time for the mayor and City Council to step up and replace the board with more thoughtful, civic-minded folk.

      1. Appointments to the library board

        Mayor Lorraine Morton appointed all of the current members of the Library Board. I trusted her then, and I trust Mayor Tisdahl now, to make the best decision for the leadership of the Library Board.

        1. Different role of library board

          Mayor Lorraine Morton appointed all of the current members of the Library Board. I trusted her then, and I trust Mayor Tisdahl now, to make the best decision for the leadership of the Library Board. 

          But the role of the Library Board has now changed.  Before, they were overseeing the library…now they have become a taxing authority.  

          In the past, it was OK to appoint pro-library extremists to the Board.  They could advocate for more library spending, but Council would have the final decision.

          Now,  it is proper to turn down potential Board members if they are likely to advocate for more money, because they will have the power to tax without any further accountability.

          In the long run, this will hurt the libraries.  The people of Evanston used to just ignore the Library Board, and positions were filled by members of the Library-Industrial Complex .  Now, the Board positions will be more political – and voters will notice  – and advocates of cutting library spending might take over the Board some day.

    2. Voters shut out; democracy dead in Evanston

      Lori Keenan, vice president of Evanston Public Library Friends (EPLF), entirely misses the point.

      Nobody is arguing that a quality library system benefits the community.

      The argument here is the way the unelected Library Board did an end around by hastily calling a special meeting and voting itself a taxing body without ever holding a public hearing. This was done shortly after the City Council voted to close the branch libraries. And now Library Board members insult our intelligence by claiming it has not made a decision on whether the Board will keep the branch libraries open. Pahleeze.

      Now that the Library Board has wrested control of library funding from the city and can levy a library tax, what will EPLF do with the donated money? And guess what, if you go to EPLF’s website you’ll notice the group is still asking people to donate money.

      It’s easy for Keenan and others to praise the value of a good library system and criticize the city and a local news outlet for being slanted and biased because it dare asks the hard questions. But please answer the hard questions such as:

      1) Why didn’t the unelected Library Board hold at least hold one public hearing about the agenda item of voting for a Library Fund model (the power for the unelected Library Board to levy a tax)?

      2) Why didn’t the Library Board choose the Library District option where Library Board members would be elected? The only answer from the Board is a Library District would be too political. Come again? It’s too political when citizens can vote for Library Board members? Please explain that in more detail.

      3) What does EPLF plan to do with the more than $125,000 of donated monies? 

      What we have here folks is the unwillingness of a special interest group to make a sacrifice in these hard economic times. Supporters of the library tax claim the city has been neglecting the library system for too long. Not true. Evanston is deep in debt and property tax revenue has consistently declined over the years. The city closed the branch libraries to balance the budget. Every department except the library and Evanston Fire Department saw cuts in their budget and experienced layoffs.

      There are too many people losing their homes in Evanston in part because they can’t afford the exorbitant property taxes that have not kept up with the declining property values. Many of those people lived in the Fifth Ward. The last thing Evanstonians need is more taxes and higher rates of services (the city just raised water rates by 10 percent).

      The City Council closed the branch libraries for a reason. Now the unelected Library Board can keep them open and raise the library tax even higher, consequently raising the local tax rates.

      In hard times you make the best of what you’ve got not take the most of what you can get.

      Illinois is near bankruptcy with the second worst credit rating in the nation. Unemployment is hovering near 10 percent.  What will happen next year when the city receives even less property tax revenues than this year?

      The bottom line here is that a group of northwest Evanston elites decided that the library branches should remain open at any cost. They did this without public input. And for that sin, this Public Fund (library tax) should not stand.

      The City Council and Mayor are culpable in their relative silence on this tax coup. Shame on them. At least voters can have a say in the next local elections. 

      1. What to do with the Branch money donated? Do what said.

        Since the money was to pay for the continued operations of the branches, use it as the sole support of the branches.  If the powers that be determine the branches should be closed, if the friends have records of who gave return it to them, otherwise turn it over to the library Board, the City [they could sure need it] or a charity.  Since the friends are "so supportive" of libraries, they would probably want it to go to the library board.  Of course if they can’t get their way and have to walk, bike, drive, CTA to the EPL, they will probably continue to hold-up in their houses and sulk.

        Simple !

        1. I don’t think anyone asked you…

          The money donated to EPLFriends will be used in the way that we said it would be used. I’m not sure why that would ever be anything for you to worry your pretty little head over, Anonymous. And I’m not sure why "so supportive" got quote marks. But maybe you can continue to hold-up in crazyville and cyber rant some more about how bad libraries are. It makes you sound so incredibly enlightened and intelligent.  

      2. Library Layoffs

        On the contrary, there were a huge number of layoffs in the library in the last round of budget cuts. Actually, I think the library was the hardest hit – they laid off most of the Technical Services department and decided to outsource cataloging.

      3. My mother always said…

         "Don’t dignify that comment with a response"

        But rather than continue to let the rumors, misinformation and DISinformation fly, I find myself replying to set the record straight. Most of what you say here is inaccurate and misguided, but since you say I missed the point, let me reiterate a few things that are SO WRONG about your post. 

        First of all, the library, which is a small, small, small percentage of the city’s budget (2%) suffered a disproportionate number of layoffs and budget cuts compared to nearly every other city department, so I’m not sure where you got your information, but it’s flat-out wrong.

        The branches account for 1/2 of 1% of the City’s budget. There are many, many other cuts that could have been made in other departments (lets say Forestry for example) that would have had less impact and saved more $. 

        Secondly, the Library Board didn’t do an "end around." Let me repeat THAT THE CITY COUNCIL ASKED THE LIBRARY BOARD TO COME UP WITH A MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE FUNDING. THEY DID THEIR HOMEWORK AND CAME BACK WITH AN ANSWER THAT IS USED BY A MAJORITY OF THE LIBRARIES IN ILLINOIS, THE LIBRARY FUND. It is an Illinois statute, there’s not too much that’s covert about it. 

        As for a public hearing, maybe you missed the scores of meetings from January through June when these discussions were being held across town either at the Library Board meetings or at City Council meetings discussing these very topics?

        Yes, the City Council did vote to close the branches, but then voted to keep them open in March, pending 3 things:

        1. Private citizens raise the money to fund them for the next 6 mos.

        2. Outreach begins to areas previously underserved, and 

        3.  The Library Board comes up with a Sustainable Funding Model

        Council then voted on June 28th saying that since all three requirements had been met, in fact, I think the language that was used by the Aldermen was that we had "checked all three boxes" the Branches would remain open. 

        Why didn’t the Library Board go to a Library District? I can’t speak to that since I’m not on the Board, but I would imagine it is because they figured that (and I would have to agree, given the pissing match that has arisen with the Fund model) that the City wouldn’t allow a City Department to completely divorce itself from the City’s control. After all, look at the trouble the Fund suggestion (which is essentially an accounting mechanism) has caused. 

        For the answer to what will happen to the donations, see my reply to the other "Anonymous" post. 

        My personal opinion is: The City is using the libraries as an excuse to create a diversion "look over here!" otherwise, why all the attention? — we will be the scapegoat for higher taxes, when in fact, the Library Fund is potentially nothing more than a shift in a portion of the City’s budget.

        The City itself knows that it will have to raise taxes next year, they have already said so. The Library Fund model is an easy way to point a finger and say it was those "public library elitists" who wanted education for our children and a place for job-seekers to access the internet, and somewhere for Seniors to go. Yeah, the public library special-interest elitists. Now, if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is. 

        So, that’s my answer, but I have to say, I’m done answering you Anonymous posters. It’s easy to spew venom and misinformation behind a mask. It’s something entirely different to speak out for something you believe in and put your name to it.  

         

        1. What are you actually advocating for?

          So are you saying that the Library Board and/or EPLF will recommend shutting down costly, redundant, inefficient, non-ADA compliant branch libraries in favor of better collections at the main branch and improved access to library services for ALL Evanstonians?  (Like, for example, a modern, internet-connected, comfortable bookmobile that could serve ALL parts of the city–especially those who have no access, no money, and the greatest need for library services.)

          NO ONE is suggesting we eliminate the library, so stop behaving as if anyone who disagrees with you lacks the intelligence to appreciate the value of a well-run system (unlike the inequitable systems in place now.)

          Your arguments that the board’s actions were done to defend against the City Council’s "attacks" on the library budget don’t wash.  If there were talk of eliminating ALL library services, then my voice would be raised right along side yours in declaring the folly of such actions–BUT THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.

          Stop justifying the poor judgement of the library board (even if only from a PR standpoint) and start telling us precisely what is intended to be done to improve efficiencies within the library system.  And please don’t start with the phrase, "Well, if we were PROPERLY funded we would…"

      4. We wrote a check to the City of Evanston

         

        3) What does EPLF plan to do with the more than $125,000 of donated monies?

        To pay for the continued operation of the branch libraries from September 1, through March 31, 2011. 

        The money was raised by hundreds of volunteers from every neighborhood and ward in the city, including: 

         

               Over $2,500.00 from children holding lemonade stands throughout the city

               Over $500.00 from one young man who sold his hieroglyphic art

               Friendship bracelets from young girls

               Change dropped in “save the library” cans

               Whole Foods donation day

               Noodles Restaurant donation day

               Puppet Shows

               Jazz Concert

               Book Sale

               Children Read A Thon

               On Line Auction

               Spirit Wear

               Membership Drive

               Direct Mail Campaign

         

        You name it, we did it.  Each and every one of these events took hundreds of volunteer hours including coordination, public relations, advertisement, clean up, supplies, etc. etc.  Volunteers continue to sacrifice their time and money because they understand what libraries should provide to a community.  Libraries should never be used to divide; they are the great equalizer, available to each and every one of us, no matter what.  During the great depression Evanston enlarged the library, they did not tear it apart, but instead created an even better library because that was exactly what was needed during hard economic times.  Today is no different. 

         

        Yet, in spite of the lack of funding, Evanston Public Library system consists of a lot more than just a main and two branches.  There are dedicated employees working hard to provide great services even with less staff, a lot less books, periodicals, and little to no maintenance or upkeep at the facilities. They continually provide outreach to many other locations throughout the community.  They work with the schools.  To top all that off, there is even a beautiful library with a great collection of books in the Levy Center conference room available to all, and that is in the 8th ward.

         

        You should also take a look at what others, who are not linked to either the library board or the EPLFriends, are saying at the link below.

         

        http://evanston.patch.com/articles/stuck-on-the-shelf-evanston-public-library

         

         

        1. Yet, in spite of the lack of

          Yet, in spite of the lack of funding, Evanston Public Library system consists of a lot more than just a main and two branches. There are dedicated employees working hard to provide great services even with less staff, a lot less books, periodicals, and little to no maintenance or upkeep at the facilities. They continually provide outreach to many other locations throughout the community. They work with the schools. To top all that off, there is even a beautiful library with a great collection of books in the Levy Center conference room available to all, and that is in the 8th ward.

           

          I think that you are making a good argument for closing the branch libraries.  The libraries have "less staff, a lot less books, periodicals, and little to no maintenance or upkeep at the facilities".  Clearly, the City has not been able to maintain these branches very well.  Time to pull the plug on the old branch libraries, and concentrate on buying books, periodicals, and upkeep of the main library.

            Do we want children and old people to be in a dangerous, poorly maintained building?  

          " They continually provide outreach to many other locations throughout the community. They work with the schools."   All of that money that is being used to maintain the branch libraries is siphoning money away from the outreach and working with schools.  Not only maintenance costs here – but library personnel should be out in the community, "outreaching", instead of sitting in the decrepit branch libraries.  

          The branch libraries are like little prisons.  The librarians are like little caged parakeets.  Set them free!    Let them visit the Levy Center, or the schools!  They could have a little kiosk that pops up in the parking lot of Home Depot or Jewel, at the lake front park, or at IHOP ,  or wherever people may gather.  

          Instead of spending money on rent and maintenance and heating the branch libraries, let’s have more outreach!

           

  2. Many taxpayers feel library services are unfairly distributed

    I was at the first of these two forums and commented about a neighbor of mine who gave up on the Evanston Public Library entirely after walking over a mile NORTH to get to the South Branch and over a mile to get home – with three children.   The question I asked was not answered: why do my neighbors, some of whom live in the poorest census district in Evanston, have to pay for library services that serve other people?  

    While the library has shown genuine concern and has bent over backwards to reach my neighbors,  the fact remains that we don’t get the same level of service as taxpayers who live close to the two branches.  It is inappropriate to use tax dollars to offer better service to some than to others – especially when the demographic differences between have-branches and have-not-branches are so marked.

    1. Libraries are good.

       Michele,

      I understand your point, and I remember your comments from the Forum on Saturday, but library services won’t get any better or any more fairly distributed by continuing to cut the library’s budget and keeping it as part of the scrum of the annual budget cycle which is millions in debt to pension funds. Or allowing the budget to be under the guidance of a City that just spent $40,000 on outside legal fees over a $600 tax bill. Where’s the oversight on that?

      More than 40% of the kids in the summer reading program participate at the branches, which prevents academic slide. Reading scores directly influence test results and success in school. Use is up at both branches including many who use them for primary internet access.  If I were you, I’d support the Library Fund model more than anyone and hope that through restoration of a predictable funding model, outreach to your neighborhood would potentially improve. In fact, there’s already a lending library at Levy, it would be a natural outpost for increased service to the 8th ward — or for a summer reading program. It can’t happen overnight, but it can happen pretty quickly when we all put our minds to it. This is a start, and having committed citizen support is also a start. Rather than ask for less for us all, why don’t we figure out a way to make it better, and not necessarily through taxes, but through donations and grants and fundraising and being the best community we can be. 

      Many seniors in my neighborhood use the branch library as an community outpost since Levy happens to be inconveniently located for most of Evanston’s seniors.  I don’t ask why my neighbors have to pay for Senior services that are more convenient and serve other people, I consider what is best for the greater good and continue to support those services. If your argument that it is inappropriate to use tax dollars to offer better service to some than others were used universally, we’d have to have all of our city services centrally located geographically — which by the way, the Main Library is not. 

      By the same token, I rarely use Crown or Chandler, and never use Levy, and hardly ever go to Fleetwood. But I think they are important to support because they benefit our city and its residents regardless of where they are located or who gets to use them more than say myself or my neighbors. Libraries are good. They foster learning and community. We lose them at our peril. 

      1. But some are more good than others

        You’ll note that Crown, Chandler, the Levy Center, the Noyes Center, The Ecology Center, Fleetwood, and Ridgeville House are more equally distributed and accessible to more citizens than the two branch libraries.  It’s not a question of whether you DO use them, but whether you CAN.  For instance, there is transportation available to seniors who can’t easily access the Levy center.

        The branch libraries offer a small proportion of citizens better service – and this reduces the amount of money for outreach and for improving the collection.   It’s not unnoticed by me and many others that the areas served by the branches are not where the need for learning and community are most critical.

        Furthermore, one aspect of poverty is that it moves with changing housing markets, so placing a permanent structure where low-income residents can reach it now may not help them in ten years.  We need a to find a more nimble, more equitable and less expensive way of bringing library service to all of Evanston.  

    2. Close the Levy Center! I can’t walk to it!

      Michele,   The Levy Center in the 8th ward should be closed since I can’t walk to it!  This is your silly idea about Branch libraries.  If someone can’t walk to a branch some how it does not justify its existance. I can’t walk to either branch library.  

      Also using your point about the poor can’t use the service, is another weak statement.  The library and city a long time ago decided to cut the bookmobile, reason they did not want to spend the capital to replace it, ($200,000 )interestingly enough the kept the person who ran the book moblie on staff. So much for any real cost savings. One of the city of Evanston bogus budget cuts when they cut 3% to balance the budget.  Michele we could cut two firefighters for one year – or for that matter thier overtime, to cover a new book moblie would you support this?

      Any one in Evanston can use a branch library, so your point that some how you are not serviced as  well as someone who lives a block away is nonsense.  I suspect there are people who live a block away from the branches who never check out a book from the branches.

      I joined the Levy Center a few years back – it is basically a duplication of services that other centers have , I stopped being a member.  – Maybe Michele you and Alderperson Rainey should discuss on the 8th ward quicktopic  ( Ann Rainey’s private Web site ) closing the Levy Center, to save us taxpayers money!

      1. Levy Center and the Branch Library

        I always found it funny [no sad] that probably many of the people who support the branches so people [probably perfectly able to walk] can walk to them were probably also willing or at least not actively opposed to moving the Levy Center to no-mans-land.   Most adults can walk or bike to EPL-Main [good exercise for them and their children] but many older people can’t walk to the Levy Center and public transportation is not the best/easiest for them either.  The Center was at a very good location for seniors—the 201 CTA bus was also good for them with the retirement/nursing care units.  But I did not hear many parents up-in-arms about the move or re-routing as they have for the branches.

        But then probably most of the branch supports are members of the 60s/70s "me generation."   They care about all services designed specially for themselves and budgets, general [not special] services "can be ________."

        1. Levy Center Bus Schedule

           http://www.cityofevanston.org/images/Busschedule.pdf

          Seniors can also ride for free on CTA, and are eligible for reduced-rate subsidized taxicab coupons.  I’m not at all sure I understand your comparison; I’d be thrilled if these options were available for my neighbors who need library services.

          Incidentally, a shuttle bus to the downtown library for income-qualifying citizens would be a terrific way to get people to the services they need.  Anybody have a church van and volunteers to drive it (when it isn’t in use by their church?)

  3. The Library Board did not hold a public hearing on the tax levy

    I appreciate your reply Lori but beg to differ.

    Yes, the Library Board did talk about the funding options and I watched the June 28th meeting. There was no consensus on which option the Council favored. Instead, they voted to keep the branches open a while longer. 

    If you call discussing possible options at a Library Board meeting or speaking to the City Council  as public hearings then I disagree. Typically, a governing body will hold a public hearing before VOTING on a specific agenda item involving legislative policy such as the authorization of levying a new tax. Public hearings are usually called when a governing body is about to vote on a sensitive and controversial issue.

    The Library Board did not hold a public hearing. Why didn’t the Library Board hold a public hearing, Lori?

    Also, the Library Board has to meet item 2) as you say, and board members have suggested to open more branch libraries.  And we all know the Library Board will keep the branches open even though they say there has been no decision.

    So yes, more money will go into the library funding through the new library tax. In other words, more taxes

    Lori, accusing some anonymous posters as spewing "venom" or" hold-up in crazyville and cyber rant" is unbecoming for the vice president of EPLF. Let’s just say it’s painting an unfriendly image of the Evanston Library Friends.

    You can disagree and still be nice.

  4. Council may use the library levy as an excuse to raise taxes

    I believe the council and Mayor are currently responsible for the mess we are in now with the libraries.  None of these people have shown any leadership.  The council – asked the friends to fund the branch libraries for six months to show support.   I suspect the council felt they were going to fail and that would have been the end of it!

    Little did they suspect, there was strong public support for the branches.  The alderpersons Grover, Tendam and Wynn have done little to solve the issue, given their wards have the branch libraries. The Mayor also has shown on leadership.

    The reality is the city of Evanston in the last six months has wasted over $400,000 and alot more on poor management and council members inability to lead the city.

    It is now a big mess.  The budget is coming and staff is now wasting time trying to figure out a separate Library budget, given they have a hard enough time on the city budget this should be really interesting.

    Why did the council the night the friends of the branches offer to raise capital for a branch renovation program ( using the funds they had raised so far ) and let the city pick up the operation of the branches – tell Wally to add the branches back in the budget and go find something else to cut?

    This is going to get more ugly – since now we will be wasting the entire budget process on the library levy issue.  Thus we not have time to get any more real cuts out of the budget

    Also why hasn’t the Mayor – given us a number for the tax increase she wants?   A few percent is Ok -but they raised water bills last year to cover the Sanation department’s  from privatizing the operation, and now a 10% water bill increase next year – followed by 30% more over the next few years – interestingly enough council members spent no really time discussing this issue other than quietly – now approving – it!

    What has been our real tax increase so far? since the city does interfund transfers – using water funds to go to the general funds – its all very interesting.

  5. The Library Board Got It Right

    I fully support the Library Board’s decision to create a separate fund.  This mess and the larger fiasco of the City of Evanston is the direct result of 20 years of Council incompetence.  Among the Council’s most obvious blunders are the Police and Fire Pension, the Early Retirement Initiative, Julia Carroll, and Wally Bobkiewicz.  Each one of these mistake have cost or will cost Evanston resident millions of dollars and possibly bankruptcy.

    Wally B is spending $1,000,000 and firing 20 employees to create a 311 center.  Evanston does not need a 311 center.  It needs effective leadership and efficient operations.  Everyone familiar with city operations knows that they are in much worse shape now than a year ago.  The Council, keeping with its tradition of incompetent decisions, will approve the project.

    I fully support any steps taken to limit the damage they will cause to Evanston, its residents, and employees.

     

  6. Article on book Kiosk as used by a library

    The Wall Street Journal 10/25/10 p.3 has an article about how a city used a lock-box system where users request a book(s) and it is placed in the lock-box at a site they can pick the book(s) up.

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