Reader Disagrees With Tybalt on Ridge


“Tybalt on Ridge” in your Aug. 4 edition took a Shakespearean approach to the tragedy which took place on July 4, in which Leslie Calvin became the latest statistic in the slaughter of young black males.

While this approach was interesting reading, the reality of too many young black males being shot down in the prime of life is appalling, with no Shakespearean quality whatsoever. The shooting on July 4 took place not in medieval England but in the 21st century of so-called sophisticated civilized Evanston. It would seem that America has lost its meaning, where young men would grow up to follow course designed to be worthy of life.  

We have long touted the values of American society the land of the free and the home of the brave, with promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Somewhere along the way these great ideals have been lost on the new generation, which sees manhood as the slaughter of one person by another. How did and mayhem and murder replaced life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Somewhere along the line the ideal of America as a bastion of hope and decency has been replaced with the sale of drugs and the killing of our young people.

How did Evanston as a society come to the agreement that there should be bad neighborhoods? We hear it said all over the place, “That’s a bad neighborhoodm” as if we condone criminal activity in certain parts of Evanston.

We have gone around the world to show the rest of the world and how civilized people ought to conduct themselves and have set up war tribunals to convict despots of heinous crimes against humanity. Yet within the confines of our own borders we condone bad neighborhoods. Where did our morality go? Is it any wonder that other countries look at us when we come to interfere in their sovereigns nations; that they tell us to go home and clean up our own backyard. A tragic event on Ridge? Absolutely!.

The author of “Tybalt on Ridge” has given us a historical accounting of man’s inhumanity to man, that, from a historical viewpoint, points to people’s inability to value others as equal to themselves. All of this seemed to prove that the only thing that we learn from history, is that we learned nothing from history.”

There was nothing remotely theatrical about this tragic event perpetrated in Evanston on July 4.

    Reverend George Woodards

Chimney Swifts, An Indelible Memory


A good ten years ago or more, I witnessed hundreds of swifts descending into the chimney at the east end of the building at Chicago and Kedzie, southeast corner, that now houses the Salvation Army.

This was about 6:30-7 p.m., late summer or early fall, after I’d gotten off the Metra at Main Street. The large flock milled overhead as one, two or three of the swifts shot down into the chimney, seemingly at full speed, and disappeared. I wondered how they could do this without collisions. The whole affair took several minutes and was astounding to see.

I don’t know if they’ve returned. Thank you for the bird stories and the best coverage of local news.

— Robert Guritz

Good Work on the Libraries


I so appreciate the work of the City Council, the library board, and Evanston Public Library Friends, and I admire their patience during this branch library debate.

As a supporter of the branch libraries, a mom who visits the North Branch with her children twice each week, and an Evanston small business owner, I continue to be very concerned about the problems, accusations, and unprofessional tactics I see from some Council members on this issue. In particular, Ann Rainey’s “elitist” comments I find to be quite offensive.

One of my biggest concerns about the potential for branch library closings is the obvious prejudice it projects. I have often visited the South Branch, for example, and talked with countless patrons who cannot afford regular bus or train fare to take them to the Main Library. Certainly, a car or money for the meter is far out of the question. As for the North Branch, I can only tell you that my family has only one full-time salary, my children attend public school, and we have enjoyed years of programming and accessibility to literature of all kinds on Central Street.

What else can we do? We, citizens, have put forth our own money to see the libraries stay open. Some, hundreds or thousands of dollars personally–not because we are elitists but because we care deeply about access to those less fortunate. I mean this sincerely.

I’m asking that the Council and Evanston residents give this new model a chance. I think it is a wise solution, and one that has been successfully implemented in many of our neighboring suburbs. In general, private citizens should not be funding library systems. Further, a city such as ours should never take branch libraries out of the budget or off the table, particularly when they represent less than 2% of the annual budget and we watch hundreds of thousands go for beautification projects, poems in cement, sculptures atop buildings—all at the expense of literacy.

I am not an elitist. I am a reader. I want my children to love reading as well. Although we enjoy the Main Library and its staff, we would likely visit once each month when open time slots and transportation were possible. This is how we, a middle class family, will be affected. This saddens me deeply. I moved to Evanston 15 years ago because of the love of learning Evanston seemed to illuminate. Don’t let that light go out. Please.

— Carrie Swearingen

NorthShore Greens Salutes Friends of the Evanston Public Library


The NorthShore Greens, the local chapter of the Illinois Green Party, congratulates Friends of the Evanston Public Library for its success in mobilizing the community to thwart the short-sighted efforts of the governmental bureaucracy to close the branch libraries. The combination of loud protest, positive action and planning for the future is an amazing accomplishment. 

This movement with its grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom, decentralization, community-based economics, respect for diversity, personal responsibility and a focus on sustainability exemplifies many of the key values of the Green Party:

Providing the libraries with separate funding from the City budget will increase the responsiveness of the libraries to the community. The people who have a vested interest in the survival of these libraries have stepped forward – recognizing that planning for the future is key to saving the branch libraries and not waiting for someone else to solve the problem. This is not a short lived protest but an emerging movement to provide a different model of social organization.

—  Tony Grimwade, Mike Brennan, Carol Kent, Conrad Fleeter and Shel Valavanis

Evanston Public Library Friends Thank Supporters


The Evanston Public Library Friends would like to thank the many thousands of supporters who played an instrumental role in helping to save Evanston’s two branch libraries for six more months, through March 1, 2011 through private funding. 

We are grateful for the support and humbled by the energy and talents of so many in our various grassroots efforts, whether in volunteering to work a lemonade stand, donate a service, sign up new members, read in the Read a thon, or sort and schlep more than 20,000 books for our Mega Book Sale.

We have been the recipient of fundraising efforts from numerous community groups, authors’ book signing events, elementary school PTA’s, storytellers, garden clubs, artists, Northwestern student organizations, lemonade stands, puppet shows, retail therapy events, bakesales and corporate philanthropy including Noodles & Co. Restaurant and Whole Foods Markets. More than 170 local businesses across town participated in our Windowbooks awareness campaign, and more than 30 local authors have helped our cause.

Libraries bring traffic to our commercial districts, education to our children, and a place to simply be for many of our seniors, or those who need to access the internet for a job search. While EPLF was the catalyst, we recognize that our success in the last six months is because the citizens of Evanston believe in and support a strong library system.

This is just the beginning of what can be an extraordinary public-private collaboration. We want to thank the citizens of Evanston for showing us a source of revenue and volunteers that many did not realize existed. Thank you for this opportunity and for helping all of us realize the potential.

As Senator Schoenberg recently commented: “There is broad support throughout the community for retaining the branch libraries.”

–The Board & Staff of Evanston Public Library Friends