Evanston’s library staff presented a budget calling for a 4.86 percent increase in operating expenses next year to its board Wednesday night.

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 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 shot down by the City Council this year because of a desire to limit capital spending while the city was financing the more than $50 million cost of the new Crown Center.

Library board members raised no significant objections to the spending plan Wednesday night. They’re scheduled to approve the budget at a meeting Sept. 26.

A multi-site, multimedia outreach session about the entire city budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the Civic Center and other locations.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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