Hoopla Multimedia Platform Proving to be a Hit in Clarion County Library System
Hoopla is a multimedia platform that includes streaming video (movies and television), music, comics, audiobooks, and Ebooks. It is available to anyone with a library card from any of the Clarion County Library System libraries (Clarion Free Library, Eccles – Lesher Memorial Library in Rimersburg, Foxburg Free Library, Knox Public Library and Redbank Valley Public Library), according to Clarion Free Library director Daniel Parker.
“We had a patron, Don Mock, approach us about the service,” Parker said. “He suggested it for us. I guess he had a streaming stick, a Roku, and it was one of the options on it because it could only be done through the library.”
After a bit of investigation, Parker said it appeared the program would be too expensive for the Clarion Free Library to undertake.
“Initially, we thought it was too expensive,” Parker said. “But, we thought if we partnered with the other libraries in the county, it would become affordable. Luckily, they agreed. They are each paying $500.00, and we are paying $3,000.00.”
Patrons are limited to four “borrows” a month per library card.
“It works as a declining balance type of thing,” Parker said. “Each item costs between 99 cents and $3.99 depending on the demand of the item. That is paid for out of the balance the library set up. The patron doesn’t pay anything. The vendor required us to put $3,000.00 in it up front.”
Because the library has to pay for each “borrow” that is the reason patrons are currently limited to four borrows.
“We don’t want someone getting $100.00 worth of material and then not use it,” Parker said. “We want them to look at it and decide what they want to take. We may lift the restriction as the service becomes more popular and we devote more resources to it.”
Patrons don’t need a streaming stick to use the service. Hoopla has an app that can be downloaded to a smartphone and content is also available through the Hoopla website.
When first signing up for the service, patrons need their library card with the last four digits of the card serving as the requested pin number. While anyone who has a library card in the Clarion County Library System can use it, the Clarion Free Library is the only library listed when searching for the service at a participating library. Patrons of the other libraries should search for the Clarion Free Library during signup.
“We are thrilled about having the system,” Parker said. “To my mind, it is exactly what a library is supposed to do, provide content. Our bread and butter are still hard copy books, but more and more people want streaming services. They can’t afford it. So, to me, it’s back to our core of providing.”
Parker said some people think libraries aren’t relevant anymore because of the advent of E-Readers like the Kindle.
“People can buy a $40.00 Kindle but can’t afford to buy the books,” Parker said. “I think the average cost of a book on the Kindle is $15.00. People want content, but not everybody can afford it. This is a way for them to be able to enjoy some of that content.”
Parker said the service has proven to be quite popular already.
“The most popular is the audiobooks,” Parker said. “People love them when they are in the car, at the gym, or out jogging.”
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