Evanston Public Library

1703 Orrington, Evanston


The entrance to the main branch of the Evanston Public Library is reached from the west by means of a wide ramp. In 2009 the cement squares in that ramp had to be replaced. The current chair of Evanston’s public art committee, Joshua Barney, had seen other cities make an opportunity of such a situation; he suggested that short poems be incised in the new squares. Local adults and public-school students were invited to submit work of 300 characters or less, including spaces. A panel picked five winning poems which are now set in stone. You can read them as you walk along the ramp or sit on the benches placed beside it. Here’s one by Charlotte Hart:

Clark Street Beach

Lake Michigan smooth

Sunrise barefoot wedding

Kissing laughing

Tux pants rolled up

Gown held above the sand.

We were the old couple walking by

Holding hands.

—Tony Adler