CSNA Letter to EPL Trustees July, 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

To: Evanston Library Board of Trustees

Dear Trustees,

In recent weeks, our members have become aware that the North Branch Library does not have a plan for reopening.  We are also aware of the intense effort going into the planning for reopening our schools.  It appears that both school districts will adopt a hybrid opening combining stay-at-home, virtual classes with on-site classroom classes.  As parents and grandparents, we are aware of the disruption and anxiety this is causing us and our neighbors in the Central Street neighborhood.

It is becoming clearer that some students will be attending classes on an intermittent basis.  And that some, by choice or need, will only be attending virtually.  Add that the situation is fluid as the COVID virus recedes and advances and it does not seem like good timing to sideline assets strongly allied to education.

The North Branch plays a key role in early and school age reading development.  Losing access indefinitely seems like a step backwards when we need positive steps forward for our kids and for our independent seniors who rely on books and newspapers.

We are also deeply concerned about businesses that make up the heart of our neighborhood.  Many are small and are struggling to stay viable, including our restaurants and specialty retail stores.  They are all working hard on plans to reopen safely. The library brings much needed business to the nearby stores.  The City’s consulting group, Lakota, in the 2007 Central Street Master Plan found the Library to be one of the few nonbusiness “activity generators” on Central St.  Not reopening the North Branch sends a terrible signal and would further endanger small business’ survival.

Please know that safety is our primary concern in any reopening plan.  We encourage the Trustees to dig in … as our businesses and schools are … and make North Branch a model of a safe reopening.

In 2010 Evanston raised over $100K to keep our branches open for six months as we struggled with the recession.  You know support is strong here. 

We look to you for leadership.

Central Street Neighbors Association requests that you reopen North Branch Library as soon as practical.


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Megan Lutz
President – Central Street Neighbors Association