Adapting to the digital age is a persistent challenge for many institutions — and libraries, which have historically housed countless paper books, are certainly no exception.
Streaming movies, listening to music, or reading e-books on digital devices has been popular for some time now. But a new service called Hoopla is bringing a digital revolution to libraries in hopes of changing how they deliver digital content across the country.
Here’s how it works: Hoopla allows users in existing library networks to use their library cards to rent audio books through either Hoopla’s website or mobile app in a format similar to Netflix; many of the titles up for grabs were previously only available on discs that needed to be physically checked out from a library.
Not only does this method make content more easily available — since an unlimited number of library members can check out any given item at once — but it can also reduce the cost of purchasing hard copies of audio books and videos, according to the Library Journal.
Hoopla doesn’t work exactly like Netflix — library networks pay per circulation, causing many to cap the amount of items a user can rent from Hoopla in a given period of time. But despite these restrictions, which are usually reasonable (Boylston Public Library in Massachusetts limits their users to 10 items per month), Hoopla significantly expands content access to communities across the country.
Hoopla, which is still in beta mode until July 1, has been incredibly successful so far. Kevin Glandon, a Library Assistant at Long Lake Public Library in Long Lake, New York told NationSwell that many patrons travel up to an hour to access the services there. By allowing libraries to reduce inventory cost for audio books and videos, as well as eliminating the need to physically check out and return items, those who live a long distance from a library or have no means of getting to one could now have the ability to access the resources they deserve.
Does this sound like something you’d want in your community? Here’s how to bring Hoopla to your area.