Evanston Public Library has released its 2020 Annual Report, "The World Changed: Evanston Public Library Reimagined." The report, describing a pandemic year like no other we've seen, is available now online in both English and Spanish. (Comunicado de prensa en español a continuación.)
The annual report reflects the tumult of 2020: the pandemic response, the call to racial justice, and the actions taken to further equitable access to resources for all Evanstonians with a focus on those who are most vulnerable and marginalized. We made a public commitment to racial equity and agreed to be unapologetically equitable in who, where, and how we serve.
Despite the setbacks of the coronavirus year, EPL has been steadfastly advancing forward. We opened the brand new and beautiful Robert Crown Branch Library on Evanston's west side in February 2020. We eliminated overdue fines, launched a brand new podcast, made Job Search Tech kits available to help bridge the digital divide for the unemployed, started lending laptops and Chromebooks, and more.
2020 was a year of transformation:
- Use of our 24/7 digital library soared.
- We rapidly shifted all programming to a virtual, online format.
- Early literacy programs and technology tutorials offered via YouTube met needs of those sheltering in place.
- WiFi Hotspots allowed individuals and local organizations to stay connected through the internet at a critical time.
- Curbside pickup services provided convenient access to materials while our doors were closed.
- Implementation of wide-ranging new safety measures allowed us to safely reopen in July 2020.
Difficult decisions, like the ones to close the North Branch and Chicago Avenue/Main Street Branch libraries were met with a full range of responses from the community from support to disappointment. The report reflects this change as well.
Karen Danczak Lyons, Executive Director of Evanston Public Library said, "In 2020, our commitment to serve your needs equitably did not waiver, though how, where and when we served you changed. We pivoted, expanded the ways we connected with you and supported your needs with empathy and skill. I am proud of every member of the EPL family and the care we showed for you and for each other. I look forward to continuing to work with you as we explore your needs and the ways we can best serve you."
2020 was a year that changed everything for all of us—and the Library changed with it. To learn more about how the Library has and will continue to reimagine its service to the Evanston community, visit epl.org. Read the annual report at epl.org/annualreport2020.