There is a lot of excitement about hoopla within the Central Alberta library system.
hoopla is being called a Netflix for libraries, offering up thousands of digital options for patrons to be streamed or temporarily downloaded. Like the popular digital streaming service, hoopla presents films and television shows across practically every genre, accessible with a few clicks.
The service will be available to cardholders of any of the 50 public libraries within the Parkland Regional Library system by July 1.
Red Deer Public Library also plans to make it available to patrons later in July.
Along with movies and TV programs, hoopla provides access to scores of albums and audiobooks. The music section offers the best selection, with brand new releases from Coldplay, the Black Keys and Ed Sheeran among the titles available.
While some of the digital materials the service makes available may already be in libraries in physical form, the digital repository presents many benefits.
“The beauty of having it all digital is that it’s multi-user so you can access it at any time. So there are no limits on how many people borrow (an item). You can get it immediately and it stays on your app for a week … and then they just automatically return so there is no worry of late fees at all,” said Meredith Bratland with Parkland Regional Library.
The service is available on computers as well as smartphones and tablet devices. When launched, it will be accessible simply by entering one’s library card barcode.
The provincial government has provided funding so that the service will be available for every library patron across the province.
Some libraries have already been connected to the service, and Bratland said there has been a lot of buzz around it.
At the same time, the regional library system will unveil a digital audiobook service — OneClickdigital — filled with titles that can be listened to on mobile devices.
Parkland has had a more cumbersome digital service for the last few years; Bratland said the new offering takes away the barriers that had previously existed.
“People are really interested in digital content, so libraries are doing their best to address that. It’s not accessible for everybody, and this will make it so,” said Bratland.
The Red Deer Public Library also expects to soon offer the ME card to patrons.
With that card, Red Deer members will be able to borrow materials from any library in the province.