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Library Plans to Operate Mighty Twig, Funded By Donations

Evanston Public Library trustees approve a fundraising campaign for staffing the Mighty Twig, an independent library started by volunteers after the South Branch closed.

Evanston’s volunteer-run library, the Mighty Twig, could become a branch of the Evanston Public Library if a fundraising campaign planned for this fall raises enough dollars.

At a recent board meeting, Evanston Public Library trustees approved Director Karen Danczak Lyons’ proposal to transform the Mighty Twig into a branch of the main library. The nonprofit operation at 900 Chicago Ave. was formed by the Evanston Public Library Friends group in March 2011, after the city shut down the South Branch library due to lack of funding. Its current operating budget is $52,200 a year, including rent, utilities and administrative costs.

Under Lyons’ proposal, the Mighty Twig would be staffed by Evanston Public Library employees with help from volunteers, and would be supported by fundraising and grants, according to a press release from the city. All told, the library would be responsible for $145,000 in staffing and operating expenses in 2013.

“In tough economic times, the EPL Board of Trustees is cognizant of the responsibilities it holds,” Director Karen Danczak Lyons said in the release “Though they are appointed, not elected, they take their duties for the oversight of library finances very seriously.”

The press release also stated that “plans for expansion or additional services will rely directly on the ability to raise funds through competitive grants, donations and fundraising. If the funds cannot be raised, then services will be affected.”

Library trustees are not seeking an increase in property tax revenues to fund operations in 2013, according to the release. Property tax revenues account for some 87 percent of the nearly $5 million in revenue the library projects to receive in fiscal year 2013.

Among the library’s $5.1 million in projected expenditures for 2013 are a 2.5 percent cost-of-living pay increase and a 1.75 percent pay increase for unionized staff members. 

Jersey Girl October 02, 2012 at 04:03 AM
An amazing development. Kudos to the Twig's incredible volunteers for keeping our community's access to knowledge alive during some dark times. Kudos to the Library Board and Director Danczek-Lyons for making constructive progress on this divisive issue.

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