Toronto Public Library is thinking about offering a free-to-use, Netflix-like service

Toronto Public Library is thinking about offering a free-to-use, Netflix-like service

(Image: Hoopladigital.com/Screenshot) (Image: Hoopladigital.com/Screenshot)
 

Nothing is finalized yet, but a spokesperson says that Toronto Public Library is in the process of negotiating a deal with Hoopla, a Netflix-like provider of streaming videos and music. If the service ends up working like it does in Edmonton, Guelph and other cities across Canada and the U.S., each library patron will be able to stream a certain number of titles per month (in Guelph and Edmonton, the limit is 10 per customer).

It’s unknown precisely when the service will launch here, but library staff tell BlogTO that an agreement with Hoopla is imminent. Even in a best-case scenario, though, library-provided streaming wouldn’t be a replacement for Netflix or other types of paid video services, because Hoopla’s selection is somewhat narrow. A quick browse through the service’s lineup of TV titles reveals that it’s heavy on National Geographic documentaries and BBC shows. The movie selection, meanwhile, seems to consist mainly of a million Jaws sequels and some halfway-decent titles from 10 to 20 years ago (Mallrats, anyone?). Hoopla also offers music and audiobooks.

But there’s no need to put off freeloading until the formal announcement is made. Toronto Public Library already offers other digital items, like downloadable magazines and ebooks.