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The Evanston Public Library has released its 2016 Annual Report: Books and Beyond, during National Library Week, April 9-15.  The report is available online and in print at all library locations. 

The Evanston Public Library updated its strategic plan in 2016 to organize its work around four service pillars: access, engagement, learning/literacy, and innovation, and emphasizes its commitment to embracing the American Library Association’s Equity of Access Statement.

The 2016 report also showcases four areas of concentration: 

1. Building A City of Readers: The Library focuses its efforts on reading and literacy for children, teens and adults, collaborating with a huge array of city partners, including our school districts, to advance what Barack Obama called “the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.” Collaboration with the City of Evanston brought scheduled reading time to City summer camps. New collection management strategies have improved the library’s ability to satisfy patron demands and 1000s of new titles are available through the digital service Hoopla. Stats for 2016 include 1,080,000 checkouts, more than 600,000 library visits, 450,802 website visits, 2,564 public programs for all ages and 91,213 reference questions answered. 

2. Growing Digital Literacy: The Library is growing its role in advancing digital literacy in the community. In 2016 it expanded its computer classes, conducted a digital literacy survey, and collaborated with ETHS to educate parents on the Chromebooks and Google digital tools their children are using in school. A pilot of Wi-Fi Hotspots that allowed residents to borrow free internet service to take home proved to be highly successful, with demand far exceeding the supply. 

3. Weaving the Neworked Library. The Evanston Public Library continues to expand its range of programs and services by bringing together community assets and connections. In 2016, these ranged from free legal service, free jazz programming, and  free tax preparation, to workshops on affordable housing, a special needs family resource fair and a criminal record expungement session.

4. Expanding Awareness: The Library, keeping its eye on social issues, responds with programs and partnerships to meet the interests of the community-at-large. Subjects addressed in 2016 programming included: mass incarceration, criminal justice, guns in America, Palestinian/Israeli politics, and the politics and culture of Middle Eastern and North African countries. 

Upon the report’s release, Karen Danczak Lyons, Evanston Public Library Director stated, “During National Library Week, we remind  the community that libraries play a key role in supporting early childhood literacy, digital literacy and lifetime learning. Through our collections, programs and services, we continually strive to provide a safe place for everyone and to reflect and serve the diversity of our Evanston community.”