New library service starts

Published 8:49 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A new service offered by the Suffolk Public Library system allows library card holders to stream or download television shows, movies, audiobooks and music onto their personal devices.

“I think it’s a great way for libraries to stay relevant to their ever-changing community,” said Jeff Jankowski, owner and founder of Hoopla Digital. “We’re really excited about working with the Suffolk library.”

Patrons can log on to the website at www.hoopladigital.com, sign in with their library card number and get access to more than 10,000 movies and television shows, 100,000 music albums, and thousands of audiobooks, with more being added every week.

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“There’s a wide variety of video content available,” Jankowski said, adding the films run the gamut from classics to newer movies and children’s content to documentaries. “It’s quite a diverse offering.”

Users can also use their library card to download the app to use the material on their mobile devices. Material automatically returns when the due date is up, so nobody has to worry about late fees.

Jankowski said the material is offered in both downloading and streaming to offer the best of both worlds.

“Most companies offer download or streaming, but not both,” he said. “Streaming is becoming so popular because it’s instant gratification. You don’t have to wait for a movie to download for 45 minutes.”

But download is available, for example, for people who want to watch a movie while traveling, he added.

Other companies offer movies, streamed music and other products, but few do them all together and offer the choice between streaming or download, Jankowski added.

“It’s a really diverse, exciting platform for library card holders,” he said. “It creates a lot of value for the community, and it’s better for libraries because they only pay for what is used.”

Jankowski added that material is automatically bookmarked, so users can finish watching on a different device from the one on which they started.

“I think Suffolk is a really progressive, forward-thinking library,” Jankowski said, adding the service was test-marketed in large metropolitan areas like Seattle. “We’re kind of changing the model.”