“I loved going to the library. It was the first time I ever saw Black newspapers and magazines like JET, Ebony, the Baltimore Afro-American, or the Chicago Defender. And I’ll never forget my librarian.” -- John Robert Lewis, “March: Book One”

March 30  The grand opening of the new Robert Crown Branch of the Evanston Public Library is just one of the myriad festivities postponed by the covid-19 pandemic.

The official opening was to have been March 14, but a couple of weeks before, on Feb. 29, the branch was open for patrons and visitors. RoundTable photographer Lynn Trautmann was able to check out people in the act – of reading, exploring, using computers and, yes, even getting new library cards. (Click on the dots under the accompanying photo.)

City Engineer Lara Biggs told the RoundTable she appreciated that “a lot of people have been involved, from residents and stakeholder groups to Friends of Robert Crown and our own City staff.  I don’t think I have ever worked on a project where there has been such a community effort.  Although there have been some concerns expressed (which is understandable for such a large, transformative project), the fact that so many have worked together to make this happen is actually the coolest part of the project.”

Although the building is operational, it is closed, like other City-owned facilities, indefinitely as the ramifications of the pandemic become apparent. In the meantime, the Coronavirus Task Force has been holding its closed meetings in the newest library branch.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...