As her mother, Ande, looks for her library card, Magdalena Gaiten, 5, carries a heavy load of books to the checkout counter at Mariner Library on Monday in Everett. The family of four kids checked out 27 books from the library, which they visit weekly. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

As her mother, Ande, looks for her library card, Magdalena Gaiten, 5, carries a heavy load of books to the checkout counter at Mariner Library on Monday in Everett. The family of four kids checked out 27 books from the library, which they visit weekly. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

This Sno-Isle library is a test lab to find out what clicks

EVERETT — About 200 people pass through the doors of the Mariner Library each day.

The library’s capacity is 37 at a time. Sometimes, things get hectic, branch manager Sandra Beck said. She’s seen every seat filled, with more guests perusing the shelves.

Sno-Isle Libraries opened the Mariner location in February to bring stable service to an area that had long been under-served. A book-mobile previously brought library materials to the neighborhood, but it didn’t offer space for programs, computers or much of an inventory.

Just about every day, it seems, guests tell the staff how happy they are to have the library, Beck said.

Michell Mitchell is one of them. The 35-year-old comes in once or twice a week and checks out a laptop. The library is designed so that people can bring their own devices or borrow one and plug in wherever they sit. Mitchell surfs the web looking for bargain items she can repurpose.

The librarians are friendly and the library is comfortable, she said. She hopes it stays in the community.

“They don’t have enough libraries around here,” she said. “Especially in these technology years, people need to be able to put their hands on a book.”

The Mariner Library is a demonstration project, with a five-year lease. Sno-Isle plans to assess use and options for establishing a permanent location. A similar approach was used to open the Camano Island Library in 2015.

With success on Camano and a bustling new space at Mariner, Sno-Isle is moving on to its next demonstration.

The Lakewood/Smokey Point Library is scheduled to open in January. Sno-Isle has a five-year lease on 4,000 square feet at 3411 169th Place NE, near the Tractor Supply Co. The plan is to open the library five days a week. Hours have not been set.

The library is expected to serve upwards of 20,000 people who are in the Sno-Isle district but not close to other libraries.

“There’s a considerable distance, not only in miles but in terms of traffic,” Sno-Isle executive director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said.

The plan is to have laptops and plenty of plug-ins, modeled after the Mariner Library. There will be youth and adult programs, and a meeting room.

“When we open these smaller facilities … it really puts out the feel of what a community library should be,” Woolf-Ivory said. “I think it’s one of the best things we do.”

The Smokey Point lease is $84,000 a year from Sno-Isle’s operating funds.

At Mariner, the need for a library grew as the area did. Neighborhoods became isolated by distance and traffic, Woolf-Ivory said. The same thing is happening in Smokey Point.

“These libraries are serving existing needs as well as what we know is coming,” she said.

At Mariner, Sno-Isle staff still are testing programs and inventory to see what clicks. Every library is different, Beck said.

Business programs have been a hit, with as many as 20 people crammed into the meeting room for presentations on how to start, market or insure a business.

Children’s programs gained momentum over the summer.

On Monday, the library hosted the Museum of Flight for a science lesson where kids made suits to protect marshmallows in simulated outer space. They gasped and pointed as they watched to see if their suits would keep marshmallows from swelling in a vacuum, then crumpling as air pressure was let back in. Most of the marshmallows came out dented, a few crushed.

“I think I know how this ends,” one boy told his friend when their team handed over a suited-up mallow.

“Oh no, no, no,” another kid chanted as the space suit swelled in the vacuum. “It’s gonna die.”

Both science sessions were full, with 25 participants each.

More programs are in the works, including a possible talk group for English language learners.

“We have a really diverse community, and it shows in the people who come in,” Beck said.

Nearly 900 people have been signed up for library cards through Mariner since it opened six months ago. That includes signups during librarians’ visits to schools and events. Laptops have been checked out for use in the library more than 700 times. DVDs are popular, and regulars swap out stacks of them.

“There was a need for a really long time in this area, and now they’re seeing that in Smokey Point,” Beck said.

“It’s a unique experience, opening a library for the first time and immersing yourself in a new area. It’s kind of scary, too. But I think it’s been a wonderful opportunity.”

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Alyvia Nguyen, 8, climbs on leaf shaped steps at the new Corcoran Memorial Park playground on Friday, July 12, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Bothell-area park ‘could not be a more fitting dedication’

In 2019, Jim Corcoran donated $1.5 million worth of land to become a public park. He died before he could see it completed.

Cars line up for the Edmonds ferry in Edmonds, Washington on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Ferry line jumpers face a $145 fine — and scorn from other drivers

Law enforcement is on the lookout for line cutters. It’s a “hot-button issue that can lead to something worse.”

Mother charged in Stanwood toddler’s fentanyl overdose death

Morgan Bassett woke up in January 2022 and found her daughter wasn’t breathing. Last week, she was charged with manslaughter.

FILE — Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 23, 2024. Former President Donald Trump has chosen Vance to be his running mate, wagering that the young senator will bring fresh energy to the Republican ticket and ensure that the movement Trump began nearly a decade ago can live on after him. (Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times)
J.D. Vance is Trump’s pick for vice president

Vance, once a Trump critic, is an ambitious ideologue who relishes the spotlight. His selection comes just days after Trump survived an assassination attempt.

Former president Donald Trump is seen with a bloody ear as he is assisted off the stage during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa., on Saturday. MUST CREDIT: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post
Pops, screams and then blood: On the scene at the Trump rally shooting

Isaac Arnsdorf, Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post BUTLER, Pa. - The… Continue reading

Biden, Democrats, Republicans denounce shooting at Trump rally

Reaction pours in from government leaders

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.