Here’s what I learned at Everett Station: Muhammad Ali, when he was Cassius Clay, spent his first money as a professional boxer on a gift for his mom. It was a Cadillac — a pink Eldorado.
There was more to learn Monday at the transit center. I figured out how to download the cloudLibrary app on my cellphone, and how to use the Everett Public Library’s ebook kiosk, which was installed June 29 at Everett Station.
That pink Cadillac tidbit comes from the opening pages of “Sting Like a Bee.” Leigh Montville’s biography centers on the boxer’s legal fight to avoid military service during the Vietnam War.
“Sting Like a Bee” was the first book I downloaded using the library’s new “Read + Ride” kiosk at the station. Free to use, it loans out ebooks or audiobooks to read or listen to on smartphones, tablets or ereader devices such as Nook or Kindle Fire.
Kate Larsen, the Everett library’s assistant director, said many reading device users don’t know that libraries provide free ebooks. “This is an effort to get that out in front of people. It’s a high-traffic area,” she said.
There’s no need to visit a kiosk to use the apps, and Larsen said neither the main downtown library nor the Evergreen branch has one. The kiosk at the station “is a tool to get the word out, to get people signed up and using it,” she said.
Readers don’t need an Everett Library card to download ebooks at the station. Those without a card may sign up for one, free, for temporary use.
If you have an older Everett library card, one with your photo on it, there’s a trick to downloading cloudLibrary. You’ll need to add 23056 in front of your library card number. I had to do that, as a holder of what Larsen called a “classic card.” For the PIN, it’s generally the last four digits of your phone number. Other than that, the process was simple.
“It’s so much easier than it was 10 years ago,” she said. With the first generation of ebooks and services, “you had to jump through so many hoops,” Larsen said. She recalled when it took overnight to download an audiobook. “Now, getting on a plane, you can pick quick,” she said.
One aspect of borrowing ebooks from libraries may frustrate new users. Not every title displayed on an app is available for checkout. The book I really wanted wasn’t “Sting Like a Bee.” It was Sherman Alexie’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” about his late mother and his early life on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Using cloudLibrary, I could place a hold on Alexie’s memoir, but couldn’t download it.
Larsen said readers may think an ebook has unlimited use, but that’s not so. Libraries buy copies of ebooks, which can expire after a certain number of circulations. “We have to buy it again,” she said. “The whole industry is still developing. Publishers are figuring out what they need.”
People who prefer real books will find them at the station, and they’re free for the taking.
Next to the ebook kiosk is a tall bookshelf with a good number of used books. A sign asks readers to limit what they take to one book.
On Monday, Lucy Turner was looking over titles hoping to find a book her mom would like. Turner, 21, said the selection reminded her of the Little Free Library structures she sees in her Lake Stevens neighborhood.
“I like physical books,” said Sabina Popa, program manager for Everett Transit. Popa, whose office is at the station, said she talked to the transit agency’s director more than a year ago about getting a bookcase. “We found one in our warehouse,” she said.
Donations come from Everett Public Library books no longer in circulation, from the public and from transit staff. One major contributor, Paul Adams, promoted the Everett Pacesetters Toastmasters group with stickers he put in books, Popa said.
“So far, we have given away over 9,600 books,” she said.
Although she likes turning actual pages, Popa sees travelers who don’t haul heavy books onto trains or buses. The kiosk, she said, “has more titles than our bookshelf, so many more.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books and ebooks at Everett Station
Use of the Everett Public Library’s cloudLibrary ebook kiosk at Everett Station is free. Learn about the cloudLibrary app at: www.yourcloudlibrary.com/index.php/en-us/
Free print books are available at the station on a shelf maintained by Everett Transit staff. To donate books, drop them at a bin near the guest services desk or call Sabina Popa, 425-257-8805.
Everett Station is at 3201 Smith Ave.