By: Mike Maizel

Good news for all those with a New York Public Library card. Starting today you can access tens of thousands of streaming movies thanks to a deal made with Kanopy.

This is a sign of changing times. Libraries have been a great source of movies for the past 20 years or so starting with VHS tapes. That gave way to DVD and Blu-Ray. Determined not to get left in the proverbial dust of history, these esteemed institutions are jumping on the streaming movie bandwagon made popular by Netflix and Hulu.

As I stated, this is due to a deal with Kanopy. Kanopy is a streaming service that was originally developed for university students to access films. As it stands today Kanopy works with over 3,000 universities and colleges. Now, a jewel in Kanopy’s list of films is the entire Criterion Collection.

Perhaps you’ve seen ads for the Criterion Collection. It includes timeless, classic films like 12 Angry Men, Being There and Seven Samurai as well as newer titles like Armageddon and Being John Malkovich.

While the NYPL already had a few titles to stream online this adds 30,000 to their database. The NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library both offer this program. To use it you’ll have to head over to your local branch and get a full access card.

Now the service isn’t as accessible as Netflix or HBO GO. You’ll have the option to watch up to 10 movies a month with three days to watch before they expire. This probably keeps costs low when you’re offering a free streaming service.

You can use the Roku, iOS or Android app to stream, with Airplay compatibility if iOS users want to throw it up on their big screen using Apple TV.

New York isn’t the first city to adopt the library streaming program as Kanopy has already struck deals with libraries in LA, Baltimore, Baton Rouge and a number of others.

While you won’t find the newest blockbuster film in this collection you’ll be able to stream plenty of classics as well as educational videos. With Hulu recently shedding the Criterion Collection, this is a nice alternative.

What do you think of the NYPL launching a large streaming service? Is this something you’ll use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Mike Maizel is a regular tech beat reporter and producer for NewsWatch. He loves all things tech, and can regularly be found outdoors in the mountains of Colorado.