Indy library boosts streaming offerings for movies, TV, music

Look out, Netflix. The library is on your tail, and it’s not for overdue books.

The Indianapolis Public Library has multiplied the amount of movies, TV shows and music albums it makes available for free streaming through a new partnership with the Hoopla online content service, the library announced Thursday.

"It's kind of a Netflix for library subscribers," said Deb Lambert, IndyPL’s director of collection management.

Library cardholders now can access hundreds of thousands of films, programs and albums on their computers and mobile devices either via the library’s website or the Hoopla digital app.

“This service will help us meet the diverse needs of patrons who can now access high-quality educational and entertainment resources,” Lambert said. “The easy-to-use interface and lack of late fees will help us expand our popular movie and music offerings in a big way.”

The library previously offered a relatively small amount of digital media for streaming.

Library memberships are available for free to all Marion County residents. Hoopla also is available to members of the Carmel Clay Public Library, Avon-Washington Township Public Library, Greenwood Public Library, Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library and Mooresville Public Library.

Hoopla charges The Indianapolis Public Library per use of a title, and the library expects the cost for the first year of service to be about $85,000, Lambert told IBJ on Thursday. The expense for the one-year trial period is being covered by The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund and Friends of the Library through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

After the first year of service ends on Dec. 31, the library will evaluate the service. If it continues to offer Hoopla, the cost would be covered in the library's annual budget.

In the meantime, the library continues to offer physical media like DVDs, Blu-ray discs and CDs, Lambert said, noting that many library patrons don't have the means to stream content.

The streaming content is available for 10 checkouts per month per cardholder. Video content is on loan for 72 hours, and music for seven days. Once a due date occurs, content automatically disappears, so cardholders don’t need to worry about deleting files from their devices.

The library also continues to offer e-books online.

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