Evanston Public Library to operate volunteer-run ‘Twig’

The+Evanston+Public+Library+Board+of+Trustees+unanimously+voted+to+assume+responsibility+for+the+Mighty+Twig+beginning+January+1%2C+2013.+The+Mighty+Twig+will+be+renamed+the+EPL+Chicago-Main+Library.
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Evanston Public Library to operate volunteer-run ‘Twig’

The Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to assume responsibility for the Mighty Twig beginning January 1, 2013. The Mighty Twig will be renamed the EPL Chicago-Main Library.

The Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to assume responsibility for the Mighty Twig beginning January 1, 2013. The Mighty Twig will be renamed the EPL Chicago-Main Library.

Rommel Morales/The Daily Northwestern

The Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to assume responsibility for the Mighty Twig beginning January 1, 2013. The Mighty Twig will be renamed the EPL Chicago-Main Library.

Rommel Morales/The Daily Northwestern

Rommel Morales/The Daily Northwestern

The Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to assume responsibility for the Mighty Twig beginning January 1, 2013. The Mighty Twig will be renamed the EPL Chicago-Main Library.

Manuel Rapada, Assistant City Editor

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Community library The Mighty Twig will become part of the Evanston Public Library in 2013.

In a meeting last Wednesday, the Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted for EPL to assume control of the volunteer-run Twig on Jan. 1. The south Evanston library, 900 Chicago Ave., will be renamed the Chicago/Main Library.

“To have the library resume service in southeast Evanston, bringing library books, librarians, library materials … is just fantastic news,” said Marcia Mahoney, director of The Mighty Twig and president of Evanston Public Library Friends.

According to its website, The Mighty Twig opened in March 2011 after EPL decided to close its South Branch due to budget constraints. In its first year, the library reported more than 33,200 visitors and more than 3,800 toddlers at story time.

In a letter last week to EPL Friends and patrons, Mahoney said The Mighty Twig was a “temporary experiment.”

Karen Danczak Lyons, director of the Evanston Public Library, said Monday that the volunteer-run library is a “remarkable testimony to how the Evanston community regards the importance of public library service in the community.”

Before the January transition, Mahoney said the EPL and Twig staffs need to address issues such as what books will make up the library’s collection and how the 60-some volunteers can still contribute once the library staff takes over.

The Twig takeover is also not a done deal financially. In order for EPL to assume responsibilities in January, $75,000 needs to be raised by the end of the year, followed by another $75,000 by the middle of next year, Lyons said. EPL Friends and EPL will work together to raise funds not just for the Chicago/Main location but also for other efforts to expand library services in Evanston, according to a library memo.

Both Mahoney and Lyons said patrons will benefit from the switch to EPL control, which Mahoney said has been her hope since the Twig opened.

Mahoney said The Mighty Twig currently has a very small collection of books, particularly for adults. Come January, however, Mahoney said patrons will be able to place holds for materials held in Evanston and other North Shore libraries.

Reflecting on the name Monday, Mahoney said The Mighty Twig means the same thing today as it did when its doors first opened in 2011.

“We’re a twig — we’re not a branch,” she said. “We’re something different than a branch but we’re mighty, we’re strong, we’re resilient.”

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