Digital magazine access well worth checking out

Digital magazine access well worth checking out

Have you tried Zinio? If you haven't tried it already or maybe haven't heard of it before, I highly suggest you check it out.

The Urbana Free Library and the Champaign Public Library have each partnered with Zinio Digital Magazines to offer unlimited online access to many of our cardholders' favorite magazines. Check with your city's library for their full list of available magazines, requirement specifics and to learn how to create a Zinio account.

With Zinio, cardholders have immediate access to many magazines on their laptops, desktops, iPads, Kindle Fires and other mobile devices.

Ever requested the newest issue of your favorite magazine through your local library, only to find out it's a display copy only? You'll never have to worry about that with Zinio: Cardholders can access the latest issues of their favorite magazines immediately. And you don't have to worry about due dates, wait lists, fines for late returns. You can check out as many magazines as you want, as often as you want, for as long as you want them.

Since the Urbana Free Library's partnering with Zinio, I've made an effort to learn about the new service so I can assist patrons with questions. What a hardship, right? I get to download magazine titles that I actually enjoy — and then read them. I can sit in front of my home computer (in the name of improving library service) and scroll through page after page of Country Living, House Beautiful, Backyard, Do it Yourself and more.

When you view a magazine for the first time, Zinio offers helpful navigation instructions that show how to scroll through pages, how to zoom in and out and how to jump ahead to a particular page. The icons along the bottom of the viewer are fairly self-explanatory as well, such as the page navigation, search feature and full-screen mode.

A handy feature is the interactive table of contents. When reading a print magazine, I get irritated each time I see a content feature or project that I want to read about but can't locate. I'll search all over the magazine for the hidden page numbers, only to get lost amid the ads. But with online magazines, you can simply select a feature that interests you and jump ahead to that page. After you've read that article, you can continue reading from there or select the table of contents icon (it looks like ruled paper) to return to the magazine's table of contents.

But my favorite feature thus far is the ability to print out pages that I like. I'll admit it. I'm a page ripper. I have a stuffed folder in my personal file cabinet filled with pages that I've torn out of magazines for design inspiration. They're magazines I've purchased — don't worry — but it's a habit that has prevented me from borrowing library magazines in the past. It's best not to tempt fate, or in this case, to tempt me from tearing pages out of library property. But now, thanks to the printing feature, I can read library magazines again and collect all the pages I want.

The printing feature is especially helpful for crafters looking for patterns in various crafting magazines. Quilters can read American Quilting and Patchwork online, printing out whatever projects they find intriguing. I'm not a quilter, but the current issue features three patterns called Color Me Crochet, Wise Guy and Dare to Dream that have me seriously tempted to learn how to quilt.

Similarly, Bead & Button, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet and other crafting magazines feature beautiful patterns that will have even the most amateur crafter tempted to learn the art.

From Cosmopolitan to Clean Eating, Consumer Reports and Car and Driver, the library subscribes to a broad range of digital magazines to meet library patrons' varied reading interests.

So whether you're a crafting enthusiast like me or a reader with greatly different interests, I encourage you to check out Zinio.

Amber Castens is an adult and teen services librarian at the Urbana Free Library, where she also is the technology volunteer program coordinator.

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