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culture

Toronto Public Library Now Offers Free Streaming Movies

New service will set patrons up with films, music, and TV shows.

Starting today, your Toronto Public Library card will score you access to 100,000 music titles and 7,000 video titles—for free. That’s because the TPL has partnered with Hoopla, an online service exclusive to libraries, which is kind of like Netflix, minus the monthly fee.

The biggest challenge when it comes to Hoopla, says chief brand manager Michael Manon, is letting people know it exists. But in Toronto, there’s already hoopla about Hoopla. Since its TPL launch this morning, the Hoopla app has climbed 384 spots on iTunes Canada’s Top Charts, and it’s expected to break the Top 200 by this afternoon—which, Manon says, would be Hoopla’s personal best.

The Toronto Public Library already offers downloadable e-books and e-magazines through similar services; Hoopla marks the library’s latest effort to stay current.

“This is really what libraries have always done,” says Vickery Bowles, TPL’s director of collections management and city-wide services. “We’ve always made magazines, music, and other kinds of materials available with changes in technology,” she says. “The container has changed, but the content is still the same. So it’s really just been an evolution.”

It’s important, says the library’s communications officer Michelle Leung, to make sure libraries remain relevant for increasingly tech-savvy Torontonians. The new arrangement with Hoopla, says Leung, will help show patrons that the library is “listening to the ways people want their content delivered.”

Hoopla started with 12 libraries in the United States last July and is now partnering with 254 in the U.S. and Canada, including ones in Hamilton and Edmonton.

You probably won’t be able to check out the most up-to-date movie titles, but Hoopla is, after all, both free and legal.

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