Answer Man

How can you make sure your old magazines are put to good use?


Q: I love my National Geographic magazines and have a number of years of mint copies. It is not practical to keep them but I cannot stand to dispose of them. I have tried local libraries and schools, but they have their own. How can I put them to good use?

Roger, of Collinsville

A: I’m sort of embarrassed to admit it, but I have a collection of Science News magazines dating back to the mid-1980s, all neatly arranged by year and tenderly stored in magazine files in my basement. I think I’ve only looked at one or two issues in the past 30 years, but somehow it’s still comforting to know they’re there.

But you know what? If I needed to find something now, I wouldn’t battle the dust and cat hair. I’d simply go to the SN website, where I could find any issue back to April 12, 1924.

As much as you prize them, it’s so much easier to use your computer and save yourself the muss and fuss of finding room for stacks of physical magazines. And if having the magazines at a moment’s notice is important to you, you can buy a complete set of National Geographics from 1888 to 2013 on DVD-ROMs for just $20. That offers the added advantage of a visual interface that allows you “to explore a topic, find photographs, browse the globe, or wander on your own expedition.”

So you can continue to call schools, retirement homes, prisons, hospitals, etc., as the magazine website suggests, but, sadly, I seriously doubt anyone will want them. Your other hope would be to scour the magazine’s Collectors Corner or post an offer on the Collectors Forum in hopes that people who still delight in the feel of paper between their fingers might be interested in various issues that you have. For information, go to or Good luck.

Today’s trivia

Who was president of the National Geographic Society when its magazine introduced pictures?

Answer to Sunday’s trivia: Begun in 1940 by professional bicycle racer Fred “Pop” Kugler in 1940, the Tour of Somerville (N.J.) now draws the world’s top cyclists for a festival that has become known as the Kentucky Derby of Bicycle Racing. Kugler’s son, Furman, won the first two races, and after he was killed in World War II, the senior men’s race was renamed the Kugler-Anderson Memorial to honor him and Carl Anderson, who won in 1942 before dying in the war. Now, it’s a three-day festival for both pro and amateur cyclists. For information, see

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer