Libraries have done it again!

If it was anyone else, phrases like "the smartest card on the planet" or "the smartest card you'll ever own," would sound like an overused marketing pitch by a credit card issuer. However, it wasn't just "anyone" as this was a library proclaiming this on their website and in their mobile app and I couldn't agree more. A library card is the most beneficial card to have while the price of becoming a patron is free!

I fondly recall my wife taking our just celebrated 1-year-old son to storytimes at the different area libraries. Our son is a quintessential "library kid" where the area of the library he visited could easily show his approximate age, just like the etched markings on the inner door frame that parents record their children's growth throughout the years.

The library's stature as a community treasure was underscored when physical distancing and "stay at home" orders became the way of life last spring. Despite the pandemic shutting down libraries to walk-in traffic (they are open now with limitations), they already had their digital service offerings operating smoothly for years. They were ready before COVID-19 and continued to provide "open access" that libraries are known for in the digital world. I can also attest to their digital services as it continues to be one of the most popular topics of discussion for our nonprofit's "Discover Digital Literacy!" program.

Once upon a time, the now-bankrupt Borders and still-standing Barnes & Noble bookstores were my favorite places to satisfy my cravings for any gearhead/pistonhead magazines from across-the-pond or down-under. I could never procure these foreign magazines as they were expensive compared to domestically published car magazines but since the business models of these mega-bookstores encouraged reading while sipping coffee, I happily obliged. But, now, I have a better option!

I discovered recently that both of our neighborhood libraries, Westlake Porter Public Library and the Bay Village branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, added a new digital service. The newest service is called "Pressreader" and both my wife and I have been test driving it. For me the "Flipster" digital magazine service was already one of my favorite offerings that I used frequently, second only to the New York Times digital newspaper I would read twice-daily. When I stumbled upon Pressreader, the idiom "Flipster on steroids" was exactly how I explained my discovery to my wife.

The competitive advantage of Pressreader over Flipster seems to be the sheer number of magazines they have. They can attain this goal of "quantity" not because of the back numbers they keep, but rather they have magazines from different countries in different languages on top of the usual magazines from American publishers.

Here's a tip when setting up Pressreader for the first time using your favorite browser on a computer or an app on your smartphone/tablet. Look for the button that says "Library or Group," search for the library by typing in the library name at the top, select your library from the result list, and enter your library card number and PIN. That's it and you'll be enjoying a sea of digital magazines in no time!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

Read More on The Digital World
Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.02.2021