The Evanston Public Library’s Fund for Excellence is focusing on adding to the Library’s collections and expanding services, first by transforming the Mighty Twig into a library branch and then expanding services to the West Side and beyond. RoundTable photo

The Evanston Public Library’s annual fundraising effort, the Fund for Excellence, has two primary objectives in its $150,000 goal: adding to the Library’s collection of books and periodicals and transforming The Mighty Twig at 900 Chicago Avenue into a branch library.

Whether the space is reborn as the Chicago/Main Branch of the Evanston Public Library or not, the Twig will close its doors there on Dec. 31.

In its two years of operation, the Twig has gained a reputation for its welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff, the honor system under which it has distributed and received books and its “wildly successful” storytimes.

If the library transforms the space into the Chicago/Main branch, said Library  Director Karen Danczak Lyons, the new operation “will look, policy-wise and procedurally, like the Library, but we’ll try to keep the openness, volunteers and friendliness of the Twig.”

Twig president Marcia Mahoney said Twig patrons have expressed concerns about having to return books on time, or even at all, since the Twig operated on the honor system. She said she understood the Library is “grappling with that problem.”
Ms. Lyons said that aspect of the transition is “challenging. … Our collection is paid for with tax dollars,” so the transition from the honor system is necessary.

Ms. Mahoney said the Library may adopt the “no-preregistration” policy for storytimes. Other policies and programs may be implemented later. “The Twig has so many ideas, most of which we will have to postpone for now,” Library Board Member Margaret Lurie said.

Ms. Lyons said, “Many of the staff and patrons of the Twig know each other and are faithful to the Twig. My perspective is that [when it becomes a Library branch] we’re adding value.”