Toronto Public Library adds 30,000 movies to new streaming service

Members of the Toronto Public Library now have access to 30,000 films in the library's collection through a new, free-to-use steaming service.

The library's new agreement with streaming service Kanopy launched this week

Sally Hawkins stars in the Maud Lewis biopic Maudie, the library's top streaming offering. (Kanopy)

Move over, Netflix, Disney and Amazon — the Toronto Public Library has entered the streaming wars.

The library is now offering 30,000 titles through the streaming service Kanopy, including a variety of Hollywood, documentary and Canadian films.

The service is free to use to anyone with a library card, though users will be limited to eight titles per month.

In the early days of its launch, TPL says the Maudie, the biopic of Canadian artist Maud Lewis is the service's most-viewed offering.

Other popular titles include the Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your NegroPaterson starring Adam Driver, and the heralded romantic drama Brooklyn.

"We wanted to do this because our customers are demanding digital options," said manager of collection development Michelle Melady. "It's just a wonderful treasure trove of cinematic offerings

Films like the documentary 'I Am Not Your Negro' make Kanopy the home for 'thoughtful entertainment,' said library manager Michelle Melady. (Kanopy)

The Australian-founded company initially offered streaming services to universities around the world, but has since expanded to include a range of public libraries.

In total, Kanopy hosts more than 26,000 films, though local users will only have access to those in the TPL collection.

The service is accessible through Roku, Android, iOS and Apple TV.

Around 1,200 TPL customers have signed up for the service during its first two days, though Melady said she expects that number to "jump dramatically" now that the service has been launched.

The Toronto Public pays for the service on a pay-per-use model, which is why users are limited to eight titles per month. Melady said the library will re-evaluate the arrangement as usage grows.

"We do have to always be cognizant of our budgets, but this is a resource that is in demand and is very cost-effective," she added.