Quantcast

Mayor calls library summit

Evanston’s mayor Monday night called for a joint meeting of the City Council and Library Board to try to resolve the dispute sparked by the board’s decision to attempt to levy its own tax to fund library services.

Aldermen at the meeting quickly agreed to the session, which they tentatively scheduled for the night of the next City Council meeting, Monday, Sept. 13.

Evanston’s mayor Monday night called for a joint meeting of the City Council and Library Board to try to resolve the dispute sparked by the board’s decision to attempt to levy its own tax to fund library services.

Aldermen at the meeting quickly agreed to the session, which they tentatively scheduled for the night of the next City Council meeting, Monday, Sept. 13.

There was no immediate public response from Library Board members who were in the council chambers for Monday’s meeting, and an e-mail message to Library Board President Chris Stewart this morning wasn’t immediately returned.

During the public comment section of the council meeting that followed the mayor’s call for a joint meeting, Stewart said Evanston’s library is the most poorly funded in the area.

"The library’s journey to the bottom has been fueled by neglect, politics and indifference to the crucial role libraries play in the community," Stewart said, adding that "it’s time for a new funding model."

Ellen Newcomer of 2445 Ridgeway, a former library board member who said she was speaking for the Evanston Public Library Friends http://eplfriends.org/ group complained about comments by Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, criticizing the library board’s move.

Rainey later said library supporters have been sending her messages making offensive comments about her and claiming that her criticism of the library board as elitist amounted to hate speech that should be punished under a city ordinance.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said she was discouraged by the level of discussion in the community about the library and thanked the mayor for calling the joint meeting.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said she "doesn’t think we can afford to have division in the community" and that she hoped the library board would agree to meet with the council. 

Editors’ Picks