Tag Archives: magazines

Free Magazines for People Who Are Broke

Poets & WritersI write weird, slightly depressing fiction and work at a public library.

This means I like to stay informed of what’s going on in the book world. But it also means I’m broke.

Thankfully, the Library has what I need, and I don’t even have to leave my house.

Through Zinio, our provider of digital magazines, I can download the latest issues of the following titles, without waiting, and without the need to worry about a due date, because the checkouts never expire.*

The New YorkerSo when it’s May and I’m still in the middle of the January/February issue of Poets & Writers, I can take my time to savor the writerly goodness without fear of late fees or the sorcery whereby ebooks disappear from your account before you are ready to let them go.

Zinio also helped me do research for a short story I wrote. I needed to read various trendy women’s magazines, like:


Seriously, it’s a little painful to even include this image.

The problem is I am embarrassed to be seen with any of these titles. It would tarnish my weird-depressing-fiction-writer street cred. So I checked them out with Zinio and read them on my computer and my phone (because yes, Zinio has a free phone app). My reputation remained intact, and I wrote a story I’m proud of (though I’m still revising it, so I haven’t sent it out for publication yet).

I used to feel compelled to read magazines cover-to-cover or not at all, but I’ve given myself permission to skip the articles that bore me. Life’s too short, n’at. This has been freeing, because I like a lot of magazines, and most of them are available through Zinio.

(Ones that are not available digitally, but that you can still access in print through the Library, include:

*You have to create an account with Zinio, and then any magazine you check out remains in your Zinio Library until you delete it. Our digital collection has issues going back to 2013.

**There are back issues of PW available on Zinio, but no current ones.

What magazines do you read? Let us know in the comments!



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Important Issues

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There is no better way to look at the current state of affairs, or research changes in any and every aspect of society, than by reading magazines.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has a huge and amazing variety, in multiple formats. We have titles that go back to the year 1731. We have current subscriptions both in print and electronic formats.

Searching for an article? Start with these databases.

We have Periodical Indexes for article searches in book format as well: Over 1500!

Want to browse our current print subscriptions by Subject or Alphabetical List?

Want to see a list of all the Music Periodicals, historical and current, that we have in our entire collection?

Want to peruse every periodical in our collection old and new? OVER 10,000!

Want to read magazines on your electronic device?

Want to check out our Zine Collection and read our Zine Blog?

Whether for professional or entertainment purposes, research or curiosity, hobbies, health, family, finance, sports, pop culture, politics, fashion, music, art or science, the list goes on and on. We have something for everyone!


*The photos are different places in the Main Library in Oakland, but there are browsing magazine collections in all of the library branches in the city.

**All photos by Joelle.

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Presents You Can Open Early: Zinio and Freegal

We are as pleased as punch to present two new digital library services that will rock your world!

That’s not hyperbole. Although librarians remain staunch defenders of the printed word (think Nicholson Baker, but cuter), we also love digital tools that extend the library’s reach beyond its walls, and we actively seek out new products and services that will help you experience the library better (just another one of those invisible tasks we’re up to all day).  This month the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh debuted two new eCLP services that expand our magazine and music offerings in fun ways; here’s a peek at what they are and how they work.


What it is: A collection of 300 magazine titles that you can read on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone (huray for apps!). The collection covers a broad range of topics including cooking, news/current events, fitness, gaming, crafts, and tattoos (yes, really).

Who can use it: Library cardholders in good standing from any Allegheny County library.

How you sign up: First-time Zinio users should visit the eNewsstand page to start the sign-up process and choose which titles they’d like to read.

When you’ll receive your magazines: After you’ve created your library and Zinio accounts, and subscribed to your titles, you’ll receive a new e-mail from Zinio every time there’s a new issue of your magazines (so, monthly for monthlies, weekly for weeklies, etc.).

Where to get help: The Zinio User Guide and video tutorial can both walk you through sign-up and service use, or you can ask a helpful library worker.

Why you won’t see all your favorite publications: Much as with e-books, some magazine publishers are reluctant to sell digital content to libraries. The library’s subscription includes as much available content as we could provide.

Things to Watch Out For: The two-step sign-up process can be confusing if you’re not used to registering for online services, so please take advantage of the help features. Also, Zinio has magazine subscriptions for sale that are not part of the library’s collection, so if you ever see prices or requests for payment information, that means the title is not part of the CLP subscription.

The bottom line: If you don’t mind a little set-up work on the front end, Zinio is a great way to sample new magazines risk-free. I personally love the high quality of the scanned images, and the ability to tweak certain screen features for readability. Most publications even let you print pages, if you’re so inclined. Recommended for people who love to read magazines, but don’t always have time to come hang out in the library.

Fluffy loves reading Audubon Magazine on Zinio. Spotted at VentureBeat

Fluffy loves reading Audubon Magazine on Zinio. Spotted at VentureBeat


What it is: A free and legal (see what they did there?) way to get your hands on over 3 million songs, including the entire Sony Music catalog.

Who can use it: Anybody with a card in good standing from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

How you sign up: Visit the eCLP Music page and log in with your library card number and PIN. That’s it!

Where to find music: Freegal’s landing page offers a variety of browsing options, including “Featured Albums,” “Recent Downloads,” “Genres” (from a capella to zydeco!), “A-Z Artist Browsing”, and “The National Top 100.” Looking for something specific? You can do a simple search from the main page, or select Advanced Search for more detailed options.

When you’ll hit your download limit: Freegal allows library users to download a total of 3 songs per week. In an age of instant gratification, that might seem maddening, but remember: your music doesn’t cost you a penny, and there’s no pesky DRM to deal with either (some things are worth waiting for).

Where to get help: There’s an extensive FAQ that covers everything from transferring music to iTunes or Windows Media Player, downloading to your desktop, and using the Freegal app, should you so desire. As ever, your friendly neighborhood library workers will be happy to help.

Why you can’t find your favorite artist: Only certain record labels have agreed to work with Freegal. You can keep current with their latest offerings by checking out the “News” section while you’re logged in.

Things to watch out for: If a song has been covered by a tribute band, you might find that version in Freegal along with the original – double-check to make sure a song is really what you want before you use up a download. Also, advanced searches are far more precise than simple ones, so if you’re really jonesing for a specific tune, hit the advanced search first.

The bottom line: Search quirks and delayed gratification issues aside, Freegal is a terrific way to beef up your music library. The range of available genres is eclectic enough to suit every mood, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how many popular artists and songs I’m finding, too.

Ehrmegerd, The Mountain Goats are on Freegal! Still shot of an animated .gif

Ehrmegerd, The Mountain Goats are on Freegal! Still shot of an animated .gif

We hope you like your library gifts, and that you’ll not only open them early, but use them often! If you’ve tried the services, and have questions or other feedback, please leave a comment.

–Leigh Anne


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Stuff We’re Enjoying: Early Spring Edition

Summer weather arrived in Pittsburgh this past week, dramatically muscling spring weather out of the way with a flourish, flipping its ponytail over its shoulder and flopping down on a beach towel with a good book.  Your stalwart Eleventh Stack crew has done likewise; here are a few of the library materials we’re enjoying at the turn of the season.


This book will mess you up.

I know that everyone and their grandmother is reading The Hunger Games right now, but I don’t feel that I need to, as I’ve already read Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale, and The Long Walk. As a matter of fact, I’m rereading The Long Walk for the fifth or sixth time right now. It’s a Stephen King short novel, written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, from back in the days before King started selling novels by the pound. Basically, every year one hundred teenage boys start at the Maine-Canada border and walk south until there is only one boy left. There are rules, of course. And penalties. And insanity. And death. If you read this one, you’ll never forget it.


Recently I visited some family in Illinois. One of the folks there is a big reader of sci-fi and fantasy, and so I waxed on to him over a couple of beers about a recent title, Embassytown, by China Miéville, that I thought one of the best science fiction titles in years.  He told me that I had to read The City and the City, another Miéville title he insisted was equally fantastic.

And right he was. The basic plot has a noir feel: a dead body is found, a hard-boiled Eastern European detective is investigating. But there’s a twist. The city where the murder takes place (Besz) happens to share contiguous space with another, just barely visible, city (Ul Qoman), where a different population and a very different–though related–language is spoken. And, oh yeah, where the murderer perhaps came from. I’ve just started this one and once again  Miéville is pushing–literally, this time–the boundaries of speculative fiction.

It seems I ought to go to Peoria more often.


The following two CDs have been in heavy rotation during my daily commute:

The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond. First things first: contemporary country music mostly makes my brain hurt. However, for some inexplicable reason, I love the current wave of bluegrass/folk-alt-country stuff that’s out there (Avett Brothers, anyone?). Thankfully the music producers went that route for most of this soundtrack, which fits the tone of Katniss and Peeta’s District 12 perfectly. I especially like the tracks from Neko Case (“Nothing to Remember”) and Kid Cudi (“The Rule and the Killer”).

Say Anything’s Anarchy, My Dear. I’ve always admired SA leader and primary lyricist, Max Bemis, for his smart, brutally honest songwriting. Though he’s mellowed a bit with age and marriage, he’s still telling it like it is. Standout tracks include “Overbiter,” which includes backing vocals from his wife, Sherri DuPree of the band Eisley, and describes their long-distance courtship; “Admit it Again,” a sequel of sorts to the “Admit It!!!” track on the …Is A Real Boy album (completely worth tracking down to dissect the lyrics); and the title track, “Anarchy, My Dear,” an almost ballad-y ode to rebellion.

Leigh Anne:

I’d like to be able to tell you I’m reading something incredibly literate, deliciously witty, or professionally advantageous. However, I am forced to confess that, in this unseasonable heat, the best I can do is leaf through magazines. Super Girl Scout Niece #1 was selling subscriptions, and I’m a huge fan of The Girl Scouts, so I’m happily parked in front of a fan with Oprah, yoga, and some warm-weather recipe ideas.


In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic, by Professor X. This eye-opening and provocative treatise caught my eye in a review journal. It’s an expansion of an article originally published in The Atlantic magazine, and deals with the unprepared students colleges recruit and the status and treatment of professors (especially adjunct professors like the author), with a bit of the author’s life story mixed in. I was intrigued because the author is an English professor, and he writes extremely well, so the book is interesting, illuminating, and readable. He writes anonymously because he’s worried he’ll lose his job.


For my birthday I received a Kindle Fire from my awesome husband , who always buys me things I think I don’t want until I get them. To my eternal (but not blushing) chagrin, the first thing I did was purchase the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy from Amazon. In case you live under a rock, Fifty Shades is a self-published “erotic BDSM” e-book by a little-known British author named E. L. James. I zipped through Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker in two days. I was ready to run out and buy some grey ties and an Audi.

For over a week now I’ve malingered on the final book, Fifty Shades Freed. I have simply stopped caring about the characters, the story, and the sex. The controversy surrounding this book reminds me of a quote from Fear of Flying author Erica Jong: “My reaction to porn films is as follows: after the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live.”


Sublime Frequencies re-issues strange and wonderful music from all over the world, everything from Bollywood steel guitar to what’s playing on the radio in Morocco. It’s perfect music to listen to while cooking or porch-sitting, and we have quite a few albums available for check-out here at the library.

I’ve also just watched a recently re-released gem on DVD called A Thousand Clowns. Fans of films about eccentric and lovable iconoclasts (and the films of Wes Anderson) should check this one out immediately.


I’m not enjoying this “nice” weather because it’s disturbing to have 80 degree weather in mid-March.  And you know what else doesn’t like it?  Spinach.  Or radishes.  Or any of the other cool weather crops that only grow well when temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.

So I’ll be forced to enjoy such books as The Gardener’s Weather Bible: How to Predict and Prepare for Garden Success in Any Kind of Weather by Sally Roth or The Weather-resilient Garden : a Defensive Approach to Planning & Landscaping by Charles W.G. Smith.

Your turn.  Hot enough for you?  What are you reading / watching / listening to this spring?


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summer reading

Ah, summer.  Time to relax, take a vacation, lie in the grass…  or not.  Kids may get the lazy days of summer, but many of us adults keep going to work, schlepping the kids around, running errands and pretty much continuing what we do all year round.  Still, that’s no excuse not to participate in Adult Summer Reading!  Especially since any kind of reading counts, including quick reads like the unfortunate series of children’s books that I’ve been reading lately, graphic novels, even magazines

My personal favorites have always been the decorating magazines.  I have to tell you, Art et Décoration (art-decoration.dekio.fr) changed my life, despite the fact that I don’t understand a word of it.  It came along at a time when I wouldn’t paint my walls anything but shades of white and saved me from myself.  And before I ever read Bridget Jones’s Diary, or any of Sophie Kinsella’s delightful novels, Ideal Home (www.idealhomemagazine.co.uk) let me see what their homes might look like, or at least what they might want them to look like.

Mental Floss (www.mentalfloss.com) is a great one for those whose thirst for knowledge is sated with sips of information from all across the subject spectrum, while Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com) can help you understand the behavior of your fellow homo sapiens.  Pittsburgh Magazine (www.wqed.org/mag/) helps me to understand my fellow Pittsburgher; if you’re interested in people, you might also enjoy Life & Style (www.lifeandstylemag.com), People (www.people.com) or In Touch (www.intouchweekly.com).  Food tends to come in higher on the priority list for me, so Vegetarian Times (www.vegetariantimes.com), Bon Appetit (http://www.bonappetit.com/) and Cooking Light (www.cookinglight.com) are my obsession, and I love to get the inside scoop on our local food scene with Table (www.tablemagazine.com).

With summer reading this easy, who cares about the prizes?  You know you’re reading anyway, so sign up today!


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Shelf Examination: Magazines

One of my favorite things to do on my days off is to visit a library (stop laughing), find its magazine section, curl up with a beverage in my hand, and pore over the news, fashion, trends, and other curiosities magazines can offer. This usually gives birth to elaborate fantasy lives: someday, I too will make funky furniture out of found objects or run an ultramarathon! Who knows? I might even finally get my life together once and for all. Again, I beg of you: stop laughing! Sometimes everybody needs a cappucino, a glossy periodical, and a dream.

caffeine, dreams, and magazines...

If you’re inclined to idle away a few hours in a similar fashion, you’ll find yourself surrounded by plenty to dream about. You can pretend you’re the next Bob Vila, Anthony Bourdain, or Kanye West. You can plan your next vacation, create the ultimate fantasy sports team, or get ideas for the outfit you’ll wear when you accept an Oscar for your screenplay (which was, of course, based on your award-winning short story).

...like a shiny disco ball of imaginative goodness...

Magazines: like a shiny disco ball of imaginative goodness...

Not a dreamer, per se? That’s okay, too. Magazines can be both practical and sensible. Like many people right now, you might have concerns about your finances. If you’re a news junkie, periodical punditry might intrigue you. Maybe you value matters of religion and faith, or family matters, or both. In fact, that’s one of the best things about magazines: there are so many of them, on so many diverse topics, that you can indulge your sensible and zany sides simultaneously.

From where I’m sitting, though, the shiny disco ball of imaginative goodness that magazines provide definitely trumps any sensible concerns I might have. I might not get to Paris anytime soon, but I can fuzzle over Le Nouvel Observateur. I’m a mediocre poet at best, but with a flip through The New Yorker, I can be inspired by the genius of others, and strive to be a little better. And for sheer mindless, frivolous fun, you cannot beat the guilty pleasures of Cosmo, Glamour, and In Style, especially if you take what you find there and make your next trip to the thrift store an informed adventure.

A cozy nook, a comfy chair...

A cozy nook, a comfy chair...

So, the next time you get tired of squinting at all of your news and entertainment online, consider seeking out one of our cozy magazine rooms. All you need are a few spare hours, some coffee, and a dream to enjoy the power and pleasure of our magazines.

A pleasant place to read and ruminate

A pleasant place to read and ruminate...

All good things come to an end, and the next intstallment of Shelf Examination will be the last. Tune in to see which collection will be featured, and what crazy adventures we’ll embark on next!

–Leigh Anne

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it (almost) always grows back

Aah, the heat and humidity of summer are doing a number on my hair these days.  It seems to grow faster, and get curlier in the strangest ways.  That must be why I just recently came across a blog for the hair obsessed.  Isn’t the Internet great?

Well, yes, but the library’s better.  Did you know that we can help you decide on your next hair style?  Well, perhaps not exactly help you decide, but, as always, provide you with the resources you need to make your decision.  We subscribe to several hair style magazines:

Plus, we have all sorts of books that can provide a wonderful array of options to choose from:

On top of all of that, you can make an interest in hair into a multimedia experience!  There’s always the musical, or you can read a Bubbles mystery, about a hairdresser-turned-investigative-journalist.   

So next time you’re in the market for a new hair style, stop by!  You’ll get an expert opinion (on how to find what you’re looking for).


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