Rendering of what the reading room at the South Branch outpost could look like. Even though the Library Board rejected the offer by the Evanston Public Library Friends to rent space for a South Branch library after the closure of the 949 Chicago Ave. branch, EPLF will rent space and staff its own outpost at 900 Chicago Ave. Rendering courtesy of Studio Talo

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Despite the Library board’s decision not to fund a South Branch outpost/satellite, the Evanston Public Library Friends is pressing on with its determination to keep library services in the Main/Chicago area, where there has been a library presence for 75 years.

The group has rented Suite 102 in the 900 Chicago Ave. building. That space will have a collection of donated books and other reading material for children and adults, as well as computers and Internet access, and will be open to the public five days a week, according to a statement released by EPLF the day after the Library board voted not to fund the South Branch outpost.

“In the very near future patrons will be invited to come see what’s in store, and the Outpost space is anticipated to open officially in mid-March. Staffed by volunteers, the space will have a collection of donated books and other reading material for children and adults, as well as computers and Internet access, and will be open to the public five days a week,” the Friends say.

EPL Friends say they are “thrilled to have found such a perfect interim space for the new Outpost at 900 Chicago Ave., and are grateful to Thomas Ahleman of Studio Talo for his pro bono design work, to Boston Street Lab for their generous offer of shelving, and to those who have so generously supported the Friends’ efforts to keep neighborhood services alive.”

The group noted that Library Board Trustee and Illinois Library Association president Gail Bush said that continuity of services is a critical factor for libraries.

“The Friends are deeply disappointed with the decision of the Library Board but will maintain our commitment to provide this service to the Main and Chicago neighborhood,” said EPLF president Ellen Newcomer.

Ms. Newcomer added, “We hope that the books from South Branch, which have been purchased with Evanston taxpayers’ money, will stay in Evanston and help bolster our collection at the Outpost and as a distribution point for our other locations throughout the City.”