Libraries to Offer More Streaming Video Options

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Man watching a movie on his tablet at home
Kaspars Grinvalds /

First, the bad news: The DVD rack at your local public library may begin to look a bit stale in coming years.

But don’t worry — free movies at the library are not going away. They are simply changing.

Libraries nationwide plan to offer more free streaming options for their patrons, according to a recent Kanopy survey of more than 730 librarians.

Kanopy is a service that partners with libraries and filmmakers to offer free streaming movies and other entertainment.

The survey found that more than 47% of librarians said they are increasing streaming video budgets this year, with 71% anticipating an increase over the next three years.

By contrast, a little more than 9% of participants are boosting DVD budgets this year, and just 15% expect an increase in the next three years.

So, starting now, you can begin to anticipate being able to access a larger amount of streaming movies through your library. The thought of switching to streaming might sound intimidating, but libraries make the process easy and free.

Kanopy and Hoopla are two of the leading services that partner with libraries to offer free movies. Generally, you can access such services by visiting their websites or downloading their apps and then providing your library card information.

Instead of having to trudge over to the library to pick up a DVD, you can check out a title from the comfort of home.

To find libraries that offer Kanopy, go to the Kanopy website. You can also find universities that offer Kanopy.

To find out if your library offers Hoopla, ask or simply check the library’s website.

There is also a decent chance your library offers both of the services, or even more. Among participants in the Kanopy survey, 54.5% said their libraries offer more than one streaming video service.

For more on getting the most from your library, check out “Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card.”

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