LA GRANGE – Two area libraries are plunging into the digital era with Hoopla Digital; a new Netflix-styled program.
At both the La Grange and Riverside public libraries, library card holders will have free online and mobile access to movies, music, TV shows, eBooks and more through the program.
Hoopla Digital owner and founder Jeff Jankowski said the program eliminates late fees along with waiting times.
"It really empowers the library users to find the content they want," Jankowski said.
Although the system runs similarly to a Netflix program, 80 percent of its content is not available on Netflix, according to Jankowski. He said, along with it's unique content, Hoopla is also appealing because it can be downloaded and used in different locations.
"[It] gives libraries a tool to stay relevant in the digital age," Jankowski said. "… It's a very simple concept but it's revolutionary."
The La Grange Public Library, 10 W. Cossitt Ave., launched Hoopla for its patrons back in March. Since introducing the program, the library has had about 68 movies viewed per month, according to Library Director Jeannie Dilger.
Hoopla allows the library to set the limits, so currently each TV show or movie can be viewed for three days, Dilger said.
"It's no different than offering DVDs, but people can watch them on any type of device 24-7." Dilger said. "And there's not a wait time, so it just offers them a wider range than the physical copies that we buy."
In the past three months, Dilger said the response to Hoopla has been great and the system is easy to use.
Echoing Dilger, Riverside Public Library Director Janice Foley said the program has had a good turnout with more than 120 patrons registered for the program.
"We're really pleased with the response and I think it will continue to grow," Foley said.
The Riverside library, which just started the program in May, will also offer information sessions to show patrons how Hoopla works later this summer.
The decision to implement Hoopla at the library came about after seeing a preview of how easy it is to use, according to Foley. She said some patrons are hesitant about the program, but she's hopeful they'll give it a try.
"Once they try it, they're going to love it," Foley said. "I think they don't realize it's as simple as we say it is."
Patrons of the La Grange and Riverside public libraries are welcome to test out the systems.
The La Grange Public Library, located at 10 W. Cossitt Ave., is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information contact the library at 708-215-3200.
The Riverside Public Library, at 1 Burling Road, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For questions or more information, contact the library at 708-442-6366.