I love magazines. I love that I can spend an hour or two (or less) with a magazine and read it from cover to cover. I love that I can bring a couple of magazines–or one really good one–to the gym and that those pages of text and photos will get me through an hour on the elliptical. I love that magazines can distill information into helpful or entertaining blurbs while also using their wide-reaching platform to tell more expansive stories, stories that reveal hidden topics or introduce us to interesting people or places. I love that magazines can be serious or silly, or sometimes both. I don’t even mind waiting for a bit at the nail salon or in the dentist’s office if they have a spread of new magazines, like People or Glamour (or Us Weekly, if we’re being honest). So, I’m a pretty lucky lady to work in a library, and it’s even luckier that I work at the Levittown Public Library, which boasts an impressive magazine roster that continues to grow.
Magazines are actually just one part of a larger collection: Periodicals. For example, these include the magazines you see in the Reference, Young Adult, and Children’s Departments. Just those titles alone would be enough to keep most readers engaged, as we offer dozens of circulating magazines that can be checked out and taken home. We really have something for just about every interest: antiquing (Antique Trader), automobiles (Car & Driver), cooking (Food Network, Cooking Light), current events (Newsweek, Time), entertainment (People, Entertainment Weekly), health (Dr. Oz: The Good Life, Prevention), home repair and decor (Family Handyman, Elle Decor, HGTV), and so on. We own magazines that I never knew existed prior to working at the LPL, like Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Ireland of the Welcomes. And we keep them for a while: one year, five years, ten years, and for others, like Sports Illustrated and Time, we keep duplicate copies…well, forever.
Children and their parents can check out favorites like Baby Bug, Highlights, or Junior Scholastic. Teens, if they’re hanging out in the Lounge and need a break from school work or they’re trying to get in some minutes for the Summer Reading Program (Yes, magazines DO count!), can read Seventeen, Guitar Player, Transworld Skateboarding, or the forthcoming J-14 and Mad Magazine, which we’ve recently added to the collection.
But, wait! That’s not all! Don’t forget about Storage! It’s not as spooky as it sounds, I promise! (Okay…it’s a little spooky if you’re one of the first people in the building in the morning and the lights haven’t been turned on yet, but that’s only the case for staff members, so have no fear, patrons!). Storage is where we keep the many reference magazines and journals, like Daedalus, JAMA, or all those back issues of the aforementioned Sports Illustrated and Time, that can only be looked at in the building. If you’re interested in professional and/or academic literature, we probably have what you need.
Another major part of periodicals is our newspaper section. Some of you may already know that we keep the latest copies of The New York Times, Newsday, Daily News, The Chief, and The Levittown Tribune at the Circulation Desk. But, you might be surprised to learn that we also have about a dozen other newspapers available downstairs, including Barron’s, Christian Science Monitor, Investor’s Business Daily, and Village Voice. Anyone can read these! Just head down to the Media Department and we’ll bring you whichever issues you want, including back issues or historical copies that have been converted to microfilm. For more on our massive microfilm collection, check out a previous Checking the Shelf entry, “The Beauty of Microfilm.” For a more complete inventory, our periodical list is available for viewing on the library’s website. Just keep in mind that this list is not set in stone, as titles are often added or dropped throughout the year. In recent years, unfortunately, lots of great magazines have gone out of business, which is another reason to keep reading magazines and showing your support for periodicals.
Also, we can’t leave out the business and financial titles, which also fall under the umbrella of periodicals (It’s a pretty big metaphorical umbrella…really, more of a tent). This includes various Standard and Poor’s and Value Line publications, as well as One Hundred Highest Yields and Moneyletter. We call these “Ready Reference,” and they’re typically available at the Reference Desk or near the Reference Desk, “at the ready.”
Just as there is more than one way to read a book, there is more than one way to read a magazine. Thanks to Zinio, LPL cardholders can also read magazines electronically. After browsing through your options (which also include titles not offered in print at the library), you can “check out” a magazine to your computer or mobile device. Users will need to create a Zinio account, which is simple enough (name, email, password). The LPL website provides instructions to make you more comfortable with using this service.
The next time you’re at the library, grab a magazine, find a comfy seat, and relax. There are plenty of great options!