For some Evanston residents, picking up books at the library or downloading an e-book is not an option. That is particularly true for seniors or adults with special needs who live in group residential facilities. For these patrons, the Evanston Public Library (EPL) comes straight to their door.

Customized Deposit Book Collections can be found at the Ebenezer-Primm Towers Senior Citizens Home, 1001 Emerson St.; Jacob Blake Robinson Manor, 1615 Emerson St.; The Grove of Evanston, 500 Asbury Ave.; and Greenwood Care, 1406 Chicago Ave. Books are delivered to the residences, where collections of 50-100 books are maintained.

“Sadly, this community is often invisible, yet these are people who really appreciate and benefit from Library services.  Our goal is to connect with adult residents who are not typically using the Library, either because of health reasons, or simply because they are uncomfortable with traditional library services,” says Lesley Williams, head of Adult Services at the Library.

“Some people are nervous about getting library cards; they may not have current ID, be afraid of getting fines, or simply don’t think to use the library as a resource. By providing Library materials where they live, we can learn about other services they need: computer classes, career counseling, health information, etc., all services the Library provides. We can also tie residents who want library cards into our Books on Wheels program, where volunteers check out and deliver library books to those who can’t get to the Library on their own,” Ms. Williams adds.

Residents are responding with enthusiasm. And their needs are becoming more apparent. The Library is seeking funds for a lap-top-based computer lab and computer classes so these patrons can benefit from increased access to technology. 

Another type of outreach to Evanston seniors involves the Library’s joining together with local community groups. Connie Heneghan, manager of Neighborhood Services at EPL, provides outreach to the Foster Senior Group of approximately 30 residents who meet weekly at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., for lunch, group activities and an informational program with featured speakers. Ms. Heneghan attends weekly, bringing books, dvds and information about library programs that may be of interest to the group.

“While there, I can help with renewal of expired library cards, place holds on items and get feedback on materials that are of interest to the group and individuals in the group to bring next time,” says Ms. Heneghan.

Residents may have noticed a shelf full of books at the train station, the Civic Center, or the City’s recreation centers. In addition to serving seniors with special needs, the Library also maintains these Deposit Book Collections throughout the City of Evanston – just one more way for EPL to strengthen its connections to the entire Evanston community.

Maintaining a collection, even a small collection, takes work and consistency. Volunteers are essential to the Deposit Book Collection programs, so any planned expansion depends on people who can deliver the books and put library flyers at the facilities. Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with these Book Deposit Collections may contact Volunteer Coordinator Mary Kling at or call 847-448-8645.