QUEENS — You can now read hundreds of magazines for free on your phone and all you need is a Queens Library card.
Library patrons can now use their phones and tablets to access a new web portal with free digital copies of popular magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Elle, Forbes, Rolling Stone and Vogue, the library said.
The portal, digitalq.nyc, known as Digital Q, lets users read magazines without downloading an app, the library said. Instead, the site serves as a direct line into the library's digital magazine collection of more than 10,000 issues.
The idea is the brainchild of Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, who, before taking over the library earlier this year, volunteered at Queens Hospital Center.
At a recent event at the hospital, where the portal was launched, Walcott said that the notion came to him when, while watching both patients and their relatives, he realized that "sometimes they’re having idle time and not having something accessible to do.”
“What we want to do is give them that opportunity to participate in having something to do ... and something to read," he added.
In the future, the portal will also include other parts of the library's digital collection, such as e-books and e-music, according to Queens Library spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon.
In an effort to provide more readers with better access to digital reading materials, anyone interested in using the portal can now sign up for an e-card providing only name, phone number and date of birth, the library said.
"It takes only seconds to receive an e-card and pin after that information is submitted," de Bourbon said in an email. "Users can’t start streaming unless they have an e-card."
Until now, library users had the option to download magazine issues onto their desktops, but could not access them on their phones, the library said.