At the Oct. 4 Library Board meeting, Leila Cornyn described her reasons for keeping the North Branch library. Photo by Mary Mumbrue

Under the watchful eye of parliamentarian Joan Bundley, the Evanston Library Board approved a budget for fiscal year 2011 that was about 10 percent higher than requested.

In preparation for next year’s budget, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz had directed all department heads to create budgets for the 10-month upcoming fiscal year that would be, on a pro-rata basis, 5 percent lower than budgets for the present fiscal year. And, although the Library Board had initially decided against making fiscal decisions that would “increase the Library’s tax levy portion of the property tax levy over the fiscal year 2010-11 level as pro-rated on a 10-month basis, excepting only increases in personnel costs related to salaries an benefits, including those provided under union agreements,” members decided unanimously on Oct. 4 to reverse that decision.

If the amount and allocations are approved by City Council, then both library branches will be funded through Dec. 31, 2011, but the library’s collections will have sustained about a 20 percent reduction.

Piece by piece, the eight members – Diane Allen-Jacobi, Sharon Arceneaux, Gail Bush, Donna Gerson, Mildred Harris, Lynette Murphy, Susan Newman and Susan Stone – deliberated the impact of proposed cuts in services and personnel, then voted not to accept some of the proposed cuts. Library Board president Dr. Christopher Stewart remained neutral during the deliberations and did not vote.

Ms. Bundley guided the group through the intricacies of Robert’s Rules of Order, explaining such things as “call the question” (vote on whether to vote on the motion at hand) and the result of a tie vote (the motion fails – “a tie never won anything,” said Ms. Bundley).

The final vote to approve a budget of $3,904,071 was 7-1, with Dr. Stewart abstaining and Ms. Murphy voting “no.”