A half-dozen Evanston police units responded to a disturbance call at the Evanston Public Library about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Polic Cmdr. Ryan Glew says a man and a woman got into a verbal altercation inside the library that escalated when the woman pulled out a kinfe.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, and Glew says police plan to charge the woman with aggravated assault.

Glew says the argument was not a domestic dispute. It’s unknown what prompted the disagreement.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. My office is at the EPL. Working from home today, so I missed the “excitement”…

    EPL needs to step up their safety protocols. Hiring a social worker, as they just did, simply won’t cut it. We need a uniformed and visibly – armed EPD officer here at all times… the library as of late has simply been *flooded* with vagrants..,

    Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

  2. The library is now a no-go place for families. It makes one pine for the Central Street branch.
    When does City leadership stand up for the law-abiding citizens of this town that pay taxes? It is such a shame that Biss and others are focused on higher office instead making Evanston a good place to live.

  3. Greg is correct. The EPL is no longer just a library. It is a hang-out, both inside and out, for the homeless. There are days at the EPL – I was there last week – when the third floor had multiple homeless people sleeping at the tables. Somedays they yell at each other and sometimes they fight. On those days the library is a scary place. On other days, the homeless simply make the EPL a place I do not want to be. Don’t even think about using a restroom at the EPL.

    This problem at the EPL is only getting worse. Question. Why are we so aggressively trying to get more homeless to come to Evanston? Why do our city leaders do nothing? What in the name of all that is holy is going on?

    1. The women’s bathrooms aren’t bad. Sometimes I’ll see someone changing, like the last time I was there.

      But when I tried to find a quiet place to work on the 2nd floor, there was none. The LOUD conversation between two homeless men from the Margarita (which they discussed at length) cut into my concentration even through my noise blocking headphones. After about an hour, I gave up and left. It’s sad. I used to bring my son there when he was little for programs and to look at picture books. I have photos of him playing with the giant cardboard blocks that they used to have for little kids. I wouldn’t do that now.

    2. It’s the only safe place for the homeless to go. You want to shut the margarita down. Burger King is closed, Barnes and noble is gone, there is no daytime shelter for the homeless to go. When I was in the emergency shelter in the winter is it was so cold outside. Honestly how do you expect the homeless to get an apartment when they have no income

  4. It’s such a beautiful library and now it’s become a homeless shelter. Such a shame. This is not the intended use of our tax dollars.

  5. An Evanston police officer told me many vagrants, panhandlers, and those claiming to be homeless carry knives, box cutters, letter openers, etc. for their own safety from one another. Here is proof of that in action.

    Think about that the next time you are leaving Target, Bennisons, etc. or walking through Fountain Square and you are approached by one of them. Not all, but many, are armed, have an often fake sad story to tell, and are scammers.

    There’s a lot of truth to Evanston’s short lived campaign last year, “Have a Heart, Give Smart”. Donate to reputable organizations vs. giving the panhandlers drug money. Too bad the City was forced to discontinue the campaign in the name of “marginalization”.

    As far as the library goes, may as well convert it to Margarita Inn East.

    1. Some have guns. When I worked for Connections, there were several incidents with clients bringing guns into Hilda’s Place drop – in center; one took it out and waved it around. Everyone scrambled for safety, including the homeless clients; one vowed to never return out of safety concerns…

      There was an uproar, and many vented to management about this incident…

      So Connections HR/management provided us a “de – escalation” training, which consisted of watching a lame video (play – acted by middle – age white guys}, and then “discussing” it. Several of the front – line staff suggested a “no weapons allowed” sign, but that was shut down, as such a sign might “traumatize” some of the clients – this is how their “Do No Harm” social work mantra works. Management suggested that if any client had a gun, that they should be asked to “check it with staff” (!!!). One staffer was livid, saying, “But this training is so *corporate*…!!!” The staff’s serious safety concerns were minimized and blown off. Also, the Hilda’s Place staff front – line staff members are primarily African – American, and they felt slighted that they had to watch a lame “white guy” training video presented by white CFTH management; they were very angry, as was I…

      Program Manager Tina White lectured us, saying, “If you don’t want to follow our ‘do no harm’ model, then you can just find another place to work…”. I decided that I would be handing in my immediate resignation…

      I work at an office in the EPL, and Library staff is going to take a “de – escalation” training soon , provided by – guess who! – Connections for the Homeless…

      Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

  6. A frequent visitor to beautiful EV Main Library I have experienced much that
    has already been stated, and more! about intrusions and noise so limit this to
    one: Last month (April) I asked the ‘security’ person/male standing at entrance
    table: “WHY are you allowing that 40-something man (or anyone else) now
    entering our library to CARRY HIS SKATEBOARD in with him and he’s going
    into the elevator-that obvious item is too much of a possible weapon- why not have him check it in with you and get a ticket to retrieve?” Library employee responded: Library (Board/Director) determined such items -skateboard- carried inside is not
    a problem so he can’t question it. Please Reconsider this UNsafety policy. CealH

  7. Not surprising. Last time I was at EPL – there was an “umhomed” person in the first floor men’s bathroom – bathing himself. At first it appeared he was doing something x-rated to himself because his pants and underwear were off – but he was just using some extra elbow grease to get the grime off (thankfully). But the stench! Oh god, the stench was unbearable. He looked right at me. I did an immediate 180 and skedaddled. I have not returned since.

  8. Evanston is turning into a place where law abiding citizens who pay their taxes to support their community no longer feel safe to use their community. When and how did this happen, and why? Why and how are our elected officials allowing this degradation to take place?
    The Orrington Library has been changing for the past several years to the point where it has indeed become Connections East.
    At this point, I imagine most Evanston citizens who have cars either drive to the Skokie or Wilmette Library. The Robert Crown Center does not even have many books. Is that going to become Connections South?
    Maybe we should change the name of Evanston to Connection (going from John Evans’ town to Connections for the Homeless’ town)? While John Evans did a lot of good for society, he also took land from the Native Americans. Maybe Connections for the Homeless feels it’s time to displace those who live and work here and give their spaces to the homeless…
    What’s next?

    1. The “next” is that we ask career politician Mayor Biss to resign (he can’t be recalled) or we vote him out in 2025. In just six days, on May 10, he will have been our mayor for two years. I can’t imagine the amount of damage he will do in his final two years.

      By the way, his re-election in 2025 will be difficult. In 2021 he got 7,080 votes (74%), followed by Lorraine “Lori” Keenan with 1,641 votes (17%), and Sebastian Nalls with 856 votes (9%). Keep in mind that Evanston has a population of 75,000 so less than 10% of our population voted for Biss.

      A candidate that puts Evanston first could beat him with ease. I hope my Alderman Clare Kelly runs. I would vote for her in a heartbeat.

      1. Mr. Sheldon, Clare Kelly would be an ***outstanding choice***. She not only “has a heart” but also evinces the kind of good old – fashioned common sense that our current leaders lack… she very thoroughly and diligently considers all angles of an issue to come to a sensible decision.

        Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

  9. The next generation of diversity hires as librarians will be non-bookish and somewhat burly and physically intimidating men to be enforcers of rules. I have a semi-tough biker friend in California who was surprisingly given this role some years back with an unwritten mandate to help keep the peace (a library ‘shussher’) as well as file books, which at time I found humorous, but now see as probably the emerging norm. Sad.

  10. This is awful news. I was in the main library lobby a few weeks ago and a homeless person came in wheeling a dirty suitcase and bags, heading to the elevator. The STENCH was unbelievable! I ran out of there gagging! Terrible. Since it’s a ‘public’ place employees can’t chase them out. I feel for the people who work there. It ‘was’ such a nice library. I think I’ll look into visiting the Skokie Library from now on.

  11. It is sad, but true. The library is no longer a place that I wish to visit, with or without my children, due to the increased violence. EPL once hired a retired police officer to run the security team, who was very successful. You could see an immediate improvement in the security team in terms of professionalism, attentiveness, and assertiveness. Unfortunately, due to lack of support from the facilities manager and library director, he and his expertise were pushed out. Now, things are worse than they’ve ever been. Seems like all management positions should be reviewed and held accountable for their failure to do the jobs they are being paid to do.

  12. The Evanston Library is a homeless shelter. To all the non-believers, just go there any day and walk to the third floor. The mayor and council are letting the city be overrun. We can not handle it anymore. The Margarita will come online soon and ruin Davis Street. Just wait till Hilda’s Place expands with their new $2 million in funding from Jan Shakowsky. This is unbelievable.

    Jay Garrick — 3rd ward homeowner

  13. It’s mind blowing to me that the mayor and city council don’t do anything to help stop this. Do they do anything in Evanston? Do they sit in the library and see how very few actual tax payers go there due to it being over run by the homeless? I have nothing against the homeless, but when you continue to enable people versus actually getting them help and RESOURCES, this is what will happen. This is sad to see. I loved taking my daughter to the library when she was young. Before I moved, however, I refused to set foot in there anymore. It was genuinely scary. In my new city I have no fears. To the Mayor and city council, you should be ashamed at the level of enabling you’ve created for people who need help and resources, not a low barrier shelter and freedom to literally do whatever they want. You’re not helping these people and it’s sad for them and for the tax payers.

  14. Library’s aren’t homeless shelter. Shelters are shelters. We have more than enough of them in Evanston. We keep luring more homeless and addicts (they are not all Evanstonians) here with our permissive policies and services. We can’t absorb all of the homeless from Chicago land area… it’s just a fact there has to be a limit. There has to be a balance.

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