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Private support modest for Evanston library

As branch library supporters embark on an effort to raise nearly a half million a year to keep the branches open, Evanston Now has learned that total private support for Evanston’s libraries has averaged roughly half that amount in recent years.

As branch library supporters embark on an effort to raise nearly a half million a year to keep the branches open, Evanston Now has learned that total private support for Evanston’s libraries has averaged roughly half that amount in recent years.

Library Director Mary Johns says the library averages gifts to its fund for excellence, used to increase purchases of new materials, of about $75,000 a year.

In addition, she says, the library typically gets about $70,000 a year from its book sales and another $20,000 in grants from private foundations.

The library’s endowment has averaged gifts totaling just over $92,000 annually over the past decade, mostly in bequests from the estates of library patrons.

That adds up to roughly $257,000 a year — or about 6 percent of the library’s $4.3 million total operating budget for this year approved by the City Council last month.

The library endowment has managed to show a gradual increase in total assets over the past decade, despite market declines in the recession.

From a balance of $1.6 million at the end of its 2000-01 fiscal year, the endowment has risen to a balance of nearly $2.7 million at the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The investment return on the endowment has totaled $1.35 million over that period and library officials have withdrawn $783,000 to fund the youth services renovation project, purchases of new library materials and art work for the library.

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