Netflix for Libraries Opens in South Carolina

It's called Hoopla, and it allows users to digitally borrow on-demand content by using their smartphones, tablets, laptops or other computers.

by Nikie Mayo, Anderson Independent Mail / December 15, 2015 0

(TNS) — The Anderson County Library is offering a new way for patrons to check out movies, music, comics, e-books and more. And they never have to leave home. Or the airport. Or their holiday destinations.

It's called Hoopla, and it allows users to digitally borrow on-demand content by using their smartphones, tablets, laptops or other computers. The service is free, and is available by going to a website or by downloading an app.

All you need is a working device and an Anderson County Library card.

"Hoopla is kind of like Netflix for libraries," said Sarah Holmes, an extension librarian in Anderson. "Basically all you have to do is a really easy sign-up process from your device. You put in your library card number, which lets us know you are a patron in good standing at the Anderson County Library, and you can begin borrowing for free."

The library launched the service Monday.

"We're excited about it," Holmes said. "We think it will allow us to offer even more content, to offer it in new ways, and to reach people who may not ordinarily come to the library."

Patrons of the county's library system are allowed to borrow up to eight titles per month. And there's no worry about late fees: Once a title is borrowed, it automatically expires after a set period of time.

"I like that it gives our library patrons 24-7 access to things that are digitally available," said Janet Price, head of information services at the library. "If you want to watch a movie or catch up on a TV show at 11 o'clock at night, your library card can still help you, even when our doors aren't open."

Hoopla offers users access to more than 400,000 options, whether they're looking for the latest music from Coldplay or the classic "Holiday Inn."

It doesn't have the kind of movie selection that is available through Netflix, but does offer some new music as soon as it is available. Hoopla was launched to the public about two years ago.

"We're still fairly new and growing," said Jeff Jankowski, the founder of hoopla digital. "We have a really robust music collection. We are constantly adding new titles in other areas."

How does it work?

If you already have an Anderson County Library card, you’ve done half the work. Go to hoopladigital.com or download the hoopla digital app to get started.

Have questions? Call the library at 864-260-4500.

The parent company of Hoopla is library distributor Midwest Tape.

"We think of having Hoopla as like having a portable Bookmobile without buying the Winnebago," Jankowski said.

The library pays a small fee each time a title is borrowed. That fee ranges from 49 cents to $2.99, Jankowski said.

Price said she thinks the service will pay off for the Anderson County Library and its patrons.

"We won't have to worry about DVDs getting scratched or walking away," she said. "And we'll be able to see over time what is popular and take that into consideration as we make decisions. Hoopla is another way that we can show the library is still cool and still relevant."

©2015 the Anderson Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.