Free Streaming Movies from the Library? Meet Kanopy

January 17, 2019

introducing KanopyI like free movies. I suspect you do as well. But here’s the thing: Not every movie made in the world ever makes it to DVD. As a librarian, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had patrons come in looking for a foreign film, a movie from the past, or a documentary they heard about that is simply not available in a physical format. With that in mind, the library has been looking for a way to increase our film collection so that we could offer films that would never charge late fees (DVD late fees are particularly expensive!) and offer a wide range of voices, experiences, and types.

Meet Kanopy, an all-movie streaming service. Kanopy brings more than 30,000 of the world’s best films to stream on computers, tablets, and other mobile devices. EPL  cardholders can sign up to start streaming films instantly onto any computer, television, mobile device or platform at the Kanopy website: kanopy.com. Me? I just went to the app store and searched for “Kanopy” on my phone. Easy peasy.

The Kanopy collections includes recent indie hits like LadybirdMoonlight, and The Florida Project; classics like Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold RushThe Great Dictator, and Modern Times as well asRashomon and The Little Shop of Horrors; and award-winning documentaries like the 2017 Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro and Sundance Film Festival winner Mother of George. Kanopy’s motto is “thoughtful entertainment,” and the films often have social and cultural value or are difficult or impossible to view anywhere else.

Films can be streamed onto any computer, television, mobile device or platform by downloading the Kanopy app for AppleTV, iPhone, and iPad; Android TV and Android; and Fire TV and Fire Tablet. Library users can stream three films per library card per month. Each movie is available for 72 hours (3 days). And remember, many of the titles are unavailable on DVD. The foreign language collection is especially impressive, as are the number of documentaries and Criterion Collection films. And do you like learning from Great Courses? They have a huge array of available titles. There’s also a large children’s section, including a lot of PBS shows.

Here’s a quick Q&A on some questions you might have:

Are we going to hit a daily limit in the same way that we have with Hoopla?

Not for the first few months. The library is going to monitor the use carefully and roll over any additional checkouts to the next day. In this way we can keep from blocking users in the first few months of our subscription.

Can someone with a Chicago library card check out Kanopy films?
No. Nor can anyone with a library card that isn’t from Evanston. If a patron with another library’s card wants to access Kanopy, they should speak with their home library about subscribing.

If you can’t get in, what might be the reason?

Kanopy is blocked to patrons that have expired cards. And, as mentioned before, if you don’t have an Evanston card you will be blocked. Evanston cardholders with fines will not be blocked.

Will these films appear in our catalog?
They will. Much like Hoopla titles, they will appear when you search for them. These records have not yet been loaded but in time will definitely appear.
Happy watching!
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