How To Get Access To Hundreds Of Magazines At Home For Free

libraryHere is a great money hack that most people are not familiar with. Most libraries offer free, 24/7 at-home access through your computer to money-saving publications like Consumer Reports, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly, and many other top business magazines and professional and trade journals. This is just in personal finance area. There are a large variety of other magazines in almost every topic imaginable which you can also access from home.

The best part is it doesn’t cost you anything to access them. All you need is a library card and your home computer with Internet service. Of course you can always go to the library and use these on the library’s computers as well.

Holdings will vary from library to library, but they usually include a lot of research type material such as online encyclopedias that the kids can use for research along with the online magazines and newspapers to finish up those last-minute assignments — all theses are also free, 24-7, and at-home.

Each library will work a bit different so your best bet is to contact your local library’s reference
desk. Each library has its own suite of online databases provided by funds from various sources (state, county, etc.). These databases provide access to the content of the print version
of a periodical which you can access even from your home.

Generally, the basic process is the same anywhere: you visit the library’s website, find its link to a listing of electronic resources (or online databases, or some other variant of these terms), figure out which database you want based on the description, and then click on its title. Then you are required enter your library card number and, finally, are admitted to the database.

Usually, databases search for specific terms across a broad collection of resources dating back as far as the 1980s or in some cases earlier, though once you are in, most databases will also allow you to find and browse specific titles. Some titles, such as Consumer Reports, withhold a week, a month, or as much as six months in order to preserve the appeal of their print subscriptions.

Some larger libraries have been able to afford an improved way of finding particular newspapers, magazines, and journals by looking at an exhaustive alphabetical list of available titles or by referring to a subject listing of specific titles. This is presented in a number of different ways, so, again, if you encounter this at your local library, the best thing is to ask the reference librarian there how to use their particular system.

I think you’ll be amazed at the offering of magazines, newspapers and other periodicals that are available. There are far more than you’ll ever have tie to read and will allow many to cancel all their magazine subscriptions.

Of course, there are many other ways your library can save you money.

Special thanks to Terry Sparks at Adriance Memorial Library for help putting this post together

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7 Responses to How To Get Access To Hundreds Of Magazines At Home For Free

  1. Wes D. says:

    Yes, just as you stated in the article I went to the San Francisco main library website and there under articles & databases is a huge list of what’s available. Makes me want to go out and get my library card renewed. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Tracey says:

    And I forgot to add, I also think this will be an extremely valuable resource for my children to research their school reports. The information contained in the magazines is more authoritative than wikipedia or many online sources, but now is just as easily accessible.

  3. My Day says:

    Thanks for the advice! I always get so annoyed when I cannot get the Consumer Reports I search for when picking a purchase….I don’t want to get the online membership for like 30 bucks….and I just used our local library system and that, plus tons of other helpful stuff is right on there, just just a form to fill out and a few clicks :)

  4. Jason says:

    If your public library does not have the publications you are looking for, another option (for college alumni) is to see if you can purchase an Alumni membership to the library at your alma mater. Colleges tend to have a very robust catalog of periodicals and journals, accessed through services such as EBSCOhost. Certainly this option will cost somewhat more that ‘free’ ($30/year in the case of my college), but if the public library cannot supply what you need, this option may still be cheaper than subscriptions to individual magazines/websites.

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