The Seattle Public Library isn’t going to put Amazon or Netflix out of business, but card holders can now stream movies, TV shows and other content for free.
The library has been providing this service on the down-low for a few months as it worked out the kinks, but it’s now ready to tell the public about it.
Library members can now stream up to 20 movies or TV shows for free every month, but once you reach your limit, you’re done.
“We also have a total budget for the month that we set,” said Seattle Public Library’s Kirk Blankenship. “We set it at a level that we know we can sustain through the year.”
Once the library hits that number for the month, the free streaming ends for everyone.
“If there’s a real popular use and we get to the limit, we’re able to message people and say, ‘We’ve hit our limit for the month check back with us,'” he said. Blankenship doesn’t expect that to happen, but he said you should make your rentals near the beginning of each month to be safe.
Those limits will keep the costs down for the library. Right now, each download costs about a $1.70.
“We only pay for what gets used, so we don’t have a big up-front fee, and there’s no other overhead costs that are added on top of this,” he said.
The library is using Hoopla for its content. It currently has about 10,000 videos. You can also download music through the service, but each album counts against your 20 rentals for the month.
All you have to do is go to the Hoopla website and create an account using your library card number, and you’re in. You can also download the app for your phone or tablet.