The Toronto Public Library is rolling out a free digital borrowing service that works by streaming content like movies, music and television directly to phones, tablets and web browsers — akin to the movie-streaming service Netflix.
A Holland, Ohio-based media company has provided the streaming application to libraries across North America. It requires a library card and an Internet-enabled device to use.
Content is added weekly, though it is not necessarily newly released.
While there is no direct costs to library users, every title that is streamed from the Hoopla costs the library a fee. Costs vary per title, and range from $1.09 to $3.39 per title.
Library customers can stream up to five titles per month. Music can be borrowed for a week and television shows and movies have a borrowing time of three days.
Oakville, Vaughan, Aurora, Hamilton and Guelph libraries are already running the service.
The library has used third-party companies to provide digital content in the past.
The Toronto Public Library launched a digital magazine service through a popular app called Zinio in 2013. However, there have been problems with the delivery of the magazines through the application. Rogers Media, which were available on Zinio at launch, withdrew its magazines and have since launched its own magazine-streaming service.
The library also has audiobooks online provided by OverDrive and OneClick services.