The Kansas City Public Library is offering a new, refreshingly quick — and free — way to get music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks.
Library patrons can now use Hoopla Digital to access an array of audio and video materials via Netflix-style streaming on their computers, tablets and smart phones. It's the latest addition to the Library's extensive menu of electronic resources.
All Hoopla content is available on demand. No holds necessary. No waiting. Users can watch or listen to their selections via online streaming or by temporarily downloading selections to a mobile device for viewing without an internet connection.
Hoopla's digital collection counts tens of thousands of titles - some 100,000 CDs; 10,000 audiobooks; 3,000 movies; and 500 TV series - and continues to expand. The Holland, Ohio-based service struck new streaming deals late in 2013 with NBCUniversal, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, National Geographic, and BBC America. It already had agreements with Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and eOne Music.
Movie selections range from the classic To Kill a Mockingbird to 2013's Parkland and Stuck in Love, television titles from NOVA to all 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, music from Sinatra to Taylor Swift to Lorde, audiobook authors from Studs Terkel to Walter Isaacson to Suzanne Collins. Many of the video titles are not currently available on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.
Because the Library is charged each time an item is checked out on one of its cards, we currently limit users to 9 items per card per month. Each TV episode counts as an item.
Checkout time for videos is 72 hours. For music CDs, it's seven days. And for audiobooks, it's three weeks. Hoopla is not accessible via blocked Library cards.
Downloaded titles are automatically removed at the end of their checkout period, eliminating worries about late fees.
Tablet and smart phone users can download the Hoopla app from their app store (just search for "Hoopla Digital"). Desktop computer users simply go to hoopladigital.com and install a plug-in (Widevine). The service works from all major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome.
Video tutorials are available on Hoopla Digital's YouTube Channel.