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Libraries have added digitial-media streaming material

For a long time, the Dakota County Library system has been working to become a resource for more than just books and movies. Over the years, it’s added several digital media services that have given library patrons access to things like e-books, audiobook downloads and electronic magazines.

Last week, the library system added a new digital service: streaming. The library has partnered with hoopla digital, a media streaming site that offers library users free access to movies, television shows, audiobooks, e-books, music and comics, all accessible from a smartphone, tablet, PC, Apple TV and Chromecast.

The new service is the result of a long search the Dakota County Library system conducted.

“For a long time now, we’ve been trying to find a service that allows us to provide streaming movies,” said Maureen Gormley, Dakota County Library information services manager.

The demand for the service comes from the library users, she explained, but it was hard to find a streaming service that offered enough popular titles to appeal to library patrons. Gormley said hoopla offered the best options.

“Hoopla has the most popular collection that’s available,” she said. “It’s hit on the popular things that people like.”

Hoopla has content from major Hollywood studios, publishers and record companies, and Gormley said it recently got access to the Disney catalog, so there’s plenty of family films.

With digital streaming services, there are no wait lists and people can access any title immediately.

The hoopla digital service is available to all Dakota County and South St. Paul library card holders. To access the content, users can go to www.hoopladigital.com and log in with their library card.

Anyone who needs assistance accessing or using the site can get help from Dakota County libraries or directly through hoopla support.

Although library users get to access the content for free, Dakota County does pay for the service. Gormley said the library puts down a deposit and pays for each item users get. For now, Gormley said, the library is limiting patrons to five hoopla check-outs per month. Library staff will evaluate the system later on and may make adjustment to the limit.

Dakota County is just the second library system in Minnesota to partner with hoopla.

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