Evanston’s library board will hold a public hearing Wednesday night on its 2019 budget, which calls for a nearly 5 percent increse in operating expenses.

The cost increase is driven largely by plans to add just over four full-time-equivalent staff positions in the fourth quarter to run the new library branch at the new Robert Crown Community Center that’s now under construction.

Those staff additions will have an even larger impact on the library’s budget in 2020, when the jobs will be required for the full year.

But Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons said at the board’s last meeting on Sept. 12 that the board may be able to offset some of the 2020 increase if it opts to close the existing branch at Chicago Avenue and Main Street when the lease on that rented facility runs out at the end of next year.

The library plans to reduce its capital spending in 2019 to $1.8 million from $2.1 million this year — but it also anticipates renewing a request for $10 million in capital spending for renovations to the main library in 2020. That request was rejected by the City Council earlier this year.

The budget hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Falcon Room on the 3rd floor of the main library at 1703 Orrington Ave.

Also at the meeting, the board will discuss the results of a survey conducted earlier this year on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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