SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Library is moving toward a Netflix model because people want the ability to stream content on the go, said its Director Pat Miller.
The only difference is the library offers its materials for free.
The Somers and Scarsdale libraries are the only two in Westchester that are partnering with Midwest Tapes, a DVD provider, to offer thousands of movies, television shows, music and audiobooks for streaming and download on mobile devices, including the iPhone, Android, tablets and soon the Kindle Fire.
“We recognize that library users are evolving to a mobile way of life,” Miller said. “And we feel that libraries need to step up to that challenge.”
Midwest Tapes has been providing media to libraries for 25 years. Now, it has created a free app called hoopla, on which patrons can register using their library card number. Hoopla digital is a division of Midwest Tapes.
The library is charged by Midwest Tapes for every time an item is charged out from the hoopla app, but there will be no waiting list and no overdue fines because the lease period automatically expires.
“The big test that hoopla has to face is whether people will be satisfied with the titles that they provide,” said Miller, who called the partnership a test.
There are 10,000 movies and TV shows on hoopla thanks to content partnerships with Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., National Geographic, BBC Worldwide, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Inc., Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and eOne Music.
Jeff Jankowski, owner and founder of hoopla digital, said libraries are one of the few institutions that have adapted very well over time to what their patrons want. He said the app provides access to the media card holders want on an ongoing basis.
“It attracts millennials, the hardest area for libraries to attract,” he, said. “Other than for school they don’t use the public library that much. But, now with taking the library digital you’re talking to the millennials in a language they understand and you’re providing them content based on how they’re used to interacting with content.”