The Evanston Public Library has created what it calls four “pop-up” libraries throughout the city as a new way for residents to access the library’s collection of reading material.

The pop-ups are located at the Erie Health Center, Presence St. Francis Hospital, Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, and the Robert Crown Center.

Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons says a person with a smartphone or other device can instantly download a free book of choice and they don’t even have to have a library card to do it.

. “We hope to welcome new members to our family of EPL patrons,” Lyons says about the new service.

An array of hot titles has been loaded onto these popups for a one-week, free check-out period with no waiting. Users at the designated locations can log-in to the mobile hotspot by going to wireless settings on their device and tapping on the Pop-Up Library wifi connection.

Next, they can go to the website on the poster and select a book. After doing so, a prompt will appear to download the book to a phone or smart device so it doesn’t have to be streamed. No app is necessary. The book is ready to read.

The library is taking advantage of the fact that smartphone usage is growing dramatically throughout the country.

According to the Pew Research Center, at least 77 percent of Americans in 2017 owned smartphones, up from just 35% in the center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011. Pop-up libraries allow smartphone users to download a book immediately, no card necessary, and with no fines or fees attached.

This new service is offered in partnership with Baker and Taylor and the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. 

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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