Newburyport Public Library opens door to digital streaming of films

A screenshot of the greeting page for Kanopy, a new service at Newburyport Public Library that allows cardholders to watch 10 movies online per month at no charge. 

NEWBURYPORT – With a few clicks on the keyboard, Newburyport Public Library cardholders now have access to more than 30,000 films through the free digital streaming service Kanopy.

The service places an emphasis on providing “thoughtful entertainment” to consumers with an array of award-winning documentaries, acclaimed indie, classic and educational films, and a variety of diverse, unique visual content, according to the library.

“This is going to be more of that Netflix experience that people are looking for without the subscription cost,” said assistant head librarian Sara Kelso.

The addition of Kanopy to the library’s resources is part of a response to requests for more accessible electronic resources.

“We decided to explore this because patrons were actually asking for it by name,” Kelso said. “We’re hoping that based on people’s interest and their requests for this specific product, that we’ll get good usage and high interest.”

The library is covering the cost of Kanopy through its own budget, so it’s only Newburyport Public Library cardholders, not all members of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, who can receive access.

But Kanopy has already found its way into a number of other local libraries. Georgetown Peabody Library, Newbury Town Library, Seabrook Library and Langley Adams Library in Groveland all offer the service as well.

For Newburyport Public Library, Kanopy not only offers patrons access to quality content, but also a chance to expand their programming offerings and use the service to bring the community together.

“We do screen a lot of films here at the library, and we intend to use some of (Kanopy’s) content for public performance screenings,” Kelso said.

To get Kanopy, patrons can go to www.newburyportpl.org/services/online_resources, click on “Kanopy Streaming Video,” and use the 14-digit library card number to create an account. Kanopy is also available as an app and available with iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast and Roku. Users at other libraries can go to kanopy.com, click on “Watch Now,” and select their library.

Kanopy users are given 10 credits per month and can watch a video with each credit. Credits renew on the first day of each month.

Once a video starts, patrons have 72 hours before it expires. The streaming service also offers Kanopy Kids, which provides educational content for children and has unlimited play credits.

Using their accounts, patrons can rate films, search by genre, add specific films to a watchlist and add parental controls. They will have access to foreign films, films that may be difficult to access elsewhere, and films that deal with race, current affairs and other subjects.

“We would encourage patrons to come in or call us if they have any trouble getting it set up, or if they have any problem walking through the borrowing process,”  Kelso said. “We’re just hoping to respond to the needs of the community.”

For more information, call the library at 978-465-4428, ext. 242, or visit its website at www.newburyportpl.org/services/online_resources.