EPL Podcast: The Check Out

Welcome to the The Check Out podcast of Evanston Public Library! It’s the people of Evanston, Illinois who make this community great.  They’re active, engaged, and always working to make the community better. Many Evanstonians say there’s no other place they’d rather live! On The Check Out, we’ll be talking to people from across the diverse spectrum of those who live and work here. Along the way, you might also learn about the role the Library plays in the community. Your host is Jill Schacter, Community Engagment Coordinator at Evanston Public Library.

We welcome your feedback! Email us at: thecheckout@cityofevanston.org.  You also can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Episode 8: Jenny Thompson

Jenny Thompson is the Director of Education at the Evanston History Center. Jenny has an M.A. in American Studies from the George Washington University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland. Her work focuses on 20th century American history and culture, the cultural history of American wars, and the history of images.

Jenny is spearheading the Evanston Community History Project at the Evanston History Center, documenting the pandemic in Evanston. We talk about what goes into making a worthy collection, the importance of history, Rapid Response Collecting, and the concept of “the necessity of ruins.”

For more information about the Evanston Community History Project and to be included in the project go to evanstonhistorycenter.org. Learn more about Jenny Thompson at jennythompson.org

Episode 7: Betsy Bird

Betsy Bird is recognized nationally as an expert on children’s literature. She is the author of five books, the host of two podcasts, and a blogger for School Library Journal. During the current COVID pandemic, she’s spearheading a Cozy Evanston Community Cookbook, an ebook of recipes from the community. (This episode was recorded pre-pandemic.)

She has been with the Evanston Public Library for six years as the Collections Manager since coming from the New York Public Library where she had a million dollar budget to purchase children’s books! As we learned, Betsy has had books in her blood from the very start. She also learns a few things about the people of Evanston by seeing what we are and are not reading.

Episode 6: Doug Haight

Doug Haight is an Evanston based photographer and video producer. He has been photographing people who are experiencing homelessness in Evanston in partnership with the Evanston organizations Connections for the Homeless, Interfaith Action, and the Perspective Gallery. We talk about the unique aspects of photographing this community and goals for the project which include destigmatization, raising awareness, building empathy, and raising the self-esteem of Evanstonians who are experiencing homelessness.

Learn more about: Connections for the Homeless, Interfaith Action of Evanston, and Perspective Gallery.

Episode 5: Karli Butler

Karli Butler is a fourth generation Evanstonian. She was the director of social services at Curt’s Café and is now at the Evanston Community Foundation. In 2006, on her way to earning her master’s in multicultural communications, she became the victim of an horrific acid attack by a complete stranger. This trauma forced her to reevaluate everything including her own identity and what it means to be strong, resilient, beautiful, and forgiving. We learn about how she found the strength to recover and continues to use that strength to help others.

Curt’s Café does a lot of good on the North Shore. Find out what that looks like at https://curtscafe.org/.

Episode 4: Mary Collins

In this episode, we visit with long-time Evanston resident and Community Development advocate Mary Collins. Mary spent more than a decade as Evanston Township High School’s Community Service Coordinator where she helped hundreds of teens get involved in volunteerism in Evanston. Now with Girls Play Sports and the Foster Center Group, she continues to bring focus to young girls’ lives and to emerging non-profits. Also, her mom used to drive the Evanston Public Library book mobile!

Find out more about Girls Play Sports in Evanston at https://www.teamgps.org/ and Foster Center Group at http://www.fostercenter.org.

Episode 3: Dino Robinson

Dino Robinson founded the Shorefront Legacy Center, an organization that collects preserves and educates people about Black history on Chicago’s suburban North Shore. Our conversation touched upon Evanston’s racist redlining past, and ventured into early business development in the Black community. The African-Americans who have been in Evanston since the beginning were much more than “the help.” They were energized entrepreneurs.

Dive into the history of African-Americans on the North Shore by visiting Shorefront at http://www.shorefrontlegacy.org/. Photo: Evanston Photographic Studio


Episode 2: Lisa Degliantoni

Most folks know Lisa Degliantoni as “Lisa D.” She has made waves in the Evanston art community from the minute she arrived here from Texas and established her home and accompanying art gallery in a former Polish Meat Shop. We talk about how she worked to galvanize the energy of Evanston artists, organize the scene through Evanston Made, and encourage residents to #collectevanstonart through greater awareness, openings and studio tours. Check out Evanston Made at https://evanstonmade.org/Photo by Jamie Davis

Episode 1: Patricia Efiom, Chief Equity Officer

Pat Efiom was the City of Evanston’s first-ever Chief Equity Officer. She has bachelor and masters degrees from Indiana University. She also has master of divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In our discussion, Pat gives a report card on the state of equity in Evanston – and discusses how her own family has addressed hurdling the barriers to equity in a head-on manner.

You can learn more about the City of Evanston’s commitment to equity and its programs by visiting https://www.cityofevanston.org/government/equity-empowerment.  You can also review the Evanston Public Library Equity Assessment conducted by D’Etta Jones and Associates.

Episode 0: What’s The Check Out?

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.