[David Kramer with Brighton Connections featuring David Kramer, see Talker featured in Brighton Connections Photo: Korey Yerkes, Media and Network Services Manager]
In high school, back in the late 70s and early 80s when, of course, the internet did not exist, we researched our assignments in libraries, often using periodical magazines. I generally went to the the Brighton Memorial Library that was open later than the BHS library and had a broader selection. A large section of the library was devoted to bins filled and filled with all sorts of magazines. I still remember leafing through an issue of National Geographic for an essay on nuclear energy following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.
As seen in A ribbon cutting and the Pages of the Brighton Memorial Library, in high school I was also a page at the library. I recall re-shelving voluminous numbers of magazines. Some circulated while others were left on tables after patrons were finished. Sometimes people cut out images, against the rules, often students who wanted to add pictures to their papers. Remember, there were no google images back then. When re-shelving, I enjoyed leafing though the wide range of offerings.Recently, I took a closer look at the Reading Room.
There are 8 comfortable chairs and two tables. The newspapers are the Democrat & Chronicle, Barron’s, IBWeekly, New York Review of Books, the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. I counted 106 magazine titles, and several local publications, including Historic Brighton. I recognized many of the same titles from the 1980s.
I met Kevin Gilbert, a typical Reading Room user. Kevin has been coming to the room for 16 years since he moved into the nearby Clintwood Apartments. While Kevin does read online, he likes to come to room 3 or 4 times a week, mostly to read the newspapers. He appreciates the comfortable chairs, the lighting and the airy feeling. Twice he complimented the friendly staff. That day, Kevin was reading the review section of the WSJ that he said does not mirror the tenor of the conservative editorials.
I discovered that you can flip up the shelves for back issues.
To learn more, I spoke with Korey Yerkes, Media and Network Services Manager.
Talker: How do decide which titles to add or subtract?
Korey: We consider a number of factors, including price, use by patrons, do we have something similar already, is there a new title we think the community might enjoy.
Talker: You mention that many magazines are going out of business. Which ones have we lost recently?
Korey: Some of those lost during the pandemic are Country Gardens, Popular Science, Bicycling, Diabetes Forecast, and Art News. Many other magazines have cut the number of issues they are producing — some by half — a number of which used to be monthly magazines have gone to quarterly or only twice a year.
Talker: Can patrons check out magazines?
Korey: Yes, except for the current issue. Patrons can check out up to five magazines (per title) at a time for three weeks.
Talker: You mention that some people donate subscriptions, for example Science. How does donating work and are you looking for more?
Korey: Science has been donated for a number of years. We are not looking for magazine donations for the collection at this time.
Talker: As of now, the library does not have digital subscriptions, only print. You mention that may change. How so?
Korey: The county is investigating digital magazine products. The main factor is cost — most databases/streaming services charge based on population size — the more people, the higher the cost.
Talker: During the pandemic, the coffee machine in the back of the room was shut down. How hopeful are you that coffee will return?
Korey: We are working with our coffee vendor to have a new machine in place, hopefully in the near future.
Korey adds: A big feature of the reading room that has been overlooked are all the NEW books that take up the entire back wall of the room. From large print, fiction, mystery, science fiction, nonfiction, and biographies- there’s lots of great material to check out.
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ALSO ON THE BRIGHTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY