Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Daily file photo by Nathan Richards
Evanston Public Library prepares for 150th anniversary festivities.

The Evanston Public Library is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, culminating with an open house and reception on Oct. 14. The events are open to all community members.

The library has serviced the city since April 1873, just 10 years after Evanston’s official incorporation. Library officials say it has become a center for knowledge, community and identity. 

Last spring, the library began publicizing ways to get involved with the upcoming celebration, such as exploring titles from its collection of 150 books by Evanston authors to participating in 150 local summer activities. The reception on Oct. 14 is emblematic of the efforts that librarians, administrators and community members have put forth all year, EPL Collection Development Manager Betsy Bird said. 

“The real goal of this is sort of to show just how integrated we are in the community beyond this building,” Bird said.

The Saturday celebration will span from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., consisting of events such as an annular eclipse viewing party and a community art project. Those hoping to get an inside look at the 150-year-old library can tag along on a behind-the-scenes tour. 

According to EPL Technology Associate Susan Arden, the anniversary celebration signifies not only the community’s pride for such a longstanding institution, but also the library’s commitment to adapting to the city’s ever-changing needs. 

“One of the library’s stated objectives is to put people on the correct side of the digital divide,” Arden said. 

Arden began her EPL tenure in 2008, but she’s seen significant changes in the past 15 years. She said the biggest shift has been the move from conventional forms of reading to a rise in audiovisual media and a reliance on computers. 

While innovation is a priority of the library, many patrons appreciate the opportunity to check out books and utilize the library in the same way they have always known. Some, like Evanston resident Rich Finkelstein, say they prefer traditional forms of reading.

“The choice of bookstores is rather limited nowadays, and I don’t like reading on an electronic device,” Finkelstein said.

Regardless of reading methods, the public library encourages all people to get involved in Evanston’s literary culture, Bird said. 

“Hopefully this will be a party that sort of draws people’s attention to things they didn’t even know we had — a rediscovery of the library,” she said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyPachuta

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