Local libraries deliver e-mags

Avid readers are likely familiar with the existence, and benefits, of e-books. But two local libraries are promoting another electronic literary medium; e-magazines.

Portage Lake District Library and Calumet Public School Library, members of Superior Land Co-op, began offering Zinio, an electronic magazine service, in late November. Through Zinio, library members are able to access and upload magazines from home onto a number of electronic devices.

“You just upload an app and then upload the magazine you want. Once you have uploaded that month’s issue you don’t need to have Wi-Fi to read it; you carry it on the device,” Rob Lantz, business manager at Portage Lake explained. “You can also set it up to have a notification sent to you when a new issue becomes available.”

The libraries offer over 135 preselected magazines. Representatives from the Co-op and Zinio worked together to determine a selection of magazines that would address the diverse interests of library patrons. The initial catalogue is subject to change in response to future demands.

“Our selection is all over the place, Lantz said. “We are trying to find a balance where we have something for everyone.”

According to Patty Hale, director at Calumet Library, 18 libraries from the Co-op are providing Zinio but Portage Lake and Calumet Library are the only members in the Copper Country. Because Zinio is currently offered only to public libraries, Calumet Library holds a unique position operating as both a public and school library to the benefit of Calumet Students.

“Being a public and school library we have multiple areas where we can use the service. The service wasn’t open to school libraries but since we are a designated public library we were able to provide Zinio and we are very glad,” said Hale. “Teachers use it in classroom settings and the Friends of the Library are very excited about it and many of their members are using it.”

Interested patrons are able to set up Zinio accounts from home and access magazines from devices including computers, iPads, iPhones and Android phones.

Lantz cautions, however, because of the multiple organizations involved, the process can be slightly confusing.

“First you need a library card and pin (number) to create a Zinio account. Where it gets confusing is Zinio also sells magazines themselves. So if it’s asking you for money you’re in the wrong location,” he said.

Library members need their library card number and pin number to set up their individual Zinio account and Lantz suggests that the easiest way to access Zinio is through the library’s website. Both libraries then connect with the Great Lakes Digital Library system to access the preselected titles.

“And of course if there is any confusion you can come in and talk to a librarian and they can help you through it. Because you’re dealing with two different organizations there can sometimes be a little confusion but we can walk people through the process,” Lantz said.

Although the libraries have yet to receive any hard data regarding Zinio usage they have received positive feedback from patrons.

“It’s been very well accepted,” said Hale. “I have nothing negative to say about Zinio. It is very user friendly – all you need to do is set it up!”

“We have gotten a very positive response from people,” added Lantz. “We have really been trying to promote different programs and we have seen the most interest in Zinio. People are like, ‘Wow! Free magazines!'”