The Evanston Public Library Friends’ experimental library outpost, , celebrated its first birthday Saturday with community members, cake and a children’s book giveaway.
This time last year, when to its 900 Chicago Ave. storefront location, it aimed to fill a void in south Evanston library services created when the .
At the time, sustainability was far from guaranteed. The outpost is run entirely by volunteers, reliant on book and financial donations, and circulates library materials on an honor system.
Yet one year later, the library’s recently-released statistics detailing first-year operations seem to tell the story of a place that has been embraced by the surrounding community.
According to the EPL Friends, in one year:
- The Mighty Twig has been visited 33,292 times.
- 7,715 people have used the outpost’s computers.
- The library has distributed 30,881 free books to 14 Evanston locations.
- Over 700 children have checked out more than 10,000 books.
- Operated thanks to 5,615 volunteer hours.
Marcia Mahoney, director of The Mighty Twig said that the outpost’s commitment to providing computer and internet access has proven very important to the community.
“One thing that we suspected but didn’t know was the extent of the demand for computers in south Evanston,” Mahoney said. “In our neighborhood, there is no community center or other place where people can go for free Wi-Fi and free computer use. And our computer [stations] are full all day long.”
Mahoney said that all sorts of people frequent the outpost, and that visitors represent a cross section of the surrounding neighborhood.
Click on to see more pictures of Saturday's celebration.