Luke Urbanowski and his sons Wesley (center) and Sebastian enjoyed cake at the Mighty Twig’s first birthday party. Mr. Urbanowski said he and his sons visit the Mighty Twig four or five times a week.RoundTable photo

Just a year ago the all-volunteer Mighty Twig opened at 900 Chicago Ave. The Library Board had just decided to close the South Branch Library at 949 Chicago Ave. and had rebuffed an offer by the Evanston Public Library Friends to operate the South Branch elsewhere. EPL Friends, which had the year before raised enough private money to keep both the South Branch and the North Branch afloat for several months while City Council decided the fate of the branches, then opened The Mighty Twig as “not quite a branch.”

In that year, The Mighty Twig has had 33,292 visitors, 7,715 computer-users, and 3,851 toddlers at story time, according to EPL Friends. Some 700 children have checked out more than 10,000 books. Four children have individually borrowed over 250 books each, with the leading young reader having borrowed 348 books. Volunteers have chalked up 5,615.25 hours, EPL Friends says. All materials are checked out on the honor system, and no fines or cards are needed. Children keep track of materials they borrow using a reading log. 

As they did last summer, the Friends say they plan to host the Library’s summer reading game.

“We never could have imagined the success that The Mighty Twig would become,” said EPL Friends board member and secretary, Cheryl Chamberlain. “Last year when we were unloading the truck with the odds and ends of furniture salvaged from the closing South Branch, and the shelving from Boston Street Lab, or accepting donations of thousands of books, no one knew then what an important presence The Twig would provide. We’d like to thank our many volunteers and donors for making it all possible.”

The Friends also count having distributed 30,881 books across Evanston to 14 locations and having worked with Family Focus on the recently revitalized Eddie Lee Sutton Library.