By Lisa Capobianco
From movies and TV shows to music to audiobooks, valid Southington Library card holders now have access to a variety of content they can stream instantly on their tablets, iPhones, PCS and other devices through “hoopla digital”—a category-creating service that partners with public libraries nationwide to offer online and mobile access to media content.
Through hoopla digital, users can borrow and download free dynamic content with their library card. Southington is one of five libraries in Connecticut that has offered this service, which can be used by multiple patrons at the same time. Library card holders can download the hoopla digital mobile app for free on their Android or IOS device or by visiting hoopladigital.com and simply “sign up” to view thousands of movie, music and book titles.
“It’s a very cool service,” said Sue Smayda, the Executive Director of Southington Public Library. “Unlike other downloadable material, you never wait for hoopla.”
Hoopla digital is free of charge for users with library cards, and Friends of the Southington Library Book Store pays for what patrons use, said Smayda.
To date, users can borrow a maximum of four items of their choice per month. After downloading a certain item to stream, users have a certain amount of time to view the content. For instance, movies and TV shows lend for 72 hours, music lends for one week and audiobooks lend for 21 days.
Since content on hoopla digital has expiration dates, there are no library late fees or additional charges.
Michael Manon, the Chief Brand Manager for hoopla digital, elaborated on the company’s partnership with Southington Public Library. Hoopla was launched by the larger company Midwest Tapes, a full-service media distributor for public libraries since 1989. Manon said Southington Public Library was already a customer of Midwest Tapes, so they already had a long relationship with the company.
“It provides them great value,” said Manon, adding that users can view the same content titles again once the lending period ends. “It’s instantly available—there’s no holes, no ads.”
Recently, the company announced an enhanced 2.0 interface and new partnerships with Universal Pictures, MGM, National Geographic and BBC Worldwide. With these new partnerships come an expansion of hoopla’s offering of videos, music and audiobooks that include popular movies and shows including “Scarface,” “Liar Liar” and Katy Perry’s album “Prism.”
“A lot of people watch content just on their ipads,” said Smayda, adding that hoopla digital provides 21st century technology to Southington residents with a variety of materials. “It really blends in well with the virtual library we’ve been promoting.”
Hoopla digital plans to grow to 800 libraries by the end of this year, and now has partnerships with over 40 library systems throughout the country, including The Seattle Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library.
“Southington patrons have access to full-length audiobooks and music titles,” said Manon. “They can borrow over a thousand titles.”