Nearly 4,000 magazine are available to be read digitally through the Nelson Public Library. Photo: Tracey Therrien

Nearly 4,000 magazine are available to be read digitally through the Nelson Public Library. Photo: Tracey Therrien

CHECK THIS OUT: The internet before the internet

From Avi Silberstein at the Nelson library

by Avi Silberstein

Back before the internet existed, there was another internet. It’s still around today. You can browse it, read a short article here and there, maybe take a deep dive into some subject you didn’t know you needed to know about. That sort of thing.

Are there ads on this pre-internet internet? You bet there are. You can usually tell they’re ads — but not always. Just like on the internet.

Any idea what I’m talking about?


You may or may not know this, but your library subscribes to nearly 100 magazines. You’ll find them near the printer/copier, on flat shelves. Borrow the latest issue on display, or any of the past issues (just lift the shelf up to find these neatly tucked away).

Whatever your interests might be, we’ve got you covered. Everything from news and current events (Maclean’s, TIME, The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic) to the great outdoors (Backpacker, Bike, Powder, Gripped) to Cooking (Cook’s Illustrated, Clean Eating) to pop culture (People, Elle, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Chatelaine).

We’ve got magazines for our DIYers (Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, Do It Yourself) our gardeners (Harrowsmith, The Gardener, Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening) and our artists (Writer’s Digest, Canadian Art, Interweave Knits, Quilting Arts, Photo Life).

Got kids? They might enjoy Scooby Doo, Ask, Chickadee, Chirp, Owl, National Geographic Kids, Kayak, or J’aime Lire (in French). And of course we also have French magazines for adults: Ricardo, Elle Quebec and L’Actualité.

But wait, there’s more!

3,800 more. No, seriously. That’s how many e-magazines you can access for free through the library’s RB Digital app. That includes everything from the mainstream (Reader’s Digest, Food Network, Newsweek) to the more obscure (Truck Trend, Stereophile, Climbing) to the even more obscure (Classic Toy Trains, Amateur Radio, Create Jewelry).

Choose from 18 different languages, from Afrikaans to Welsh. Sort by genre or alphabetically. If you can’t find an e-magazine on there to capture your interest, you might need some new interests.

Magazines offer something for everyone. For me, when I finish a novel, I can’t start reading the next one right away — I need a palate cleanser. Magazines serve up bite-sized offerings that satisfy that need perfectly.

For others, magazines are just the thing for a beach, or a ski lodge, or a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Last week, when the internet went down, and we were instantly transported to our pre-World Wide Web days, I sat down by the fire with a stack of magazines and put my feet up. And for a few moments, it was easy to forget that this night was different than any other night.

Avi Silberstein is the Children’s Librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information on all things Nelson Library go to.