hoopla: An entertainment library at your fingertips

In January 2013, the digital library streaming service hoopla was released to help libraries expand their patrons’ access to audio and e-books, films, music and more.

Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library Executive Director Joanna Breen remembers it well. “I’ve been a secret groupie of hoopla ever since it was first available,” shared Breen. “I was (working) at a library in Wilmington (Massachusetts) in 2013 and I said ‘we have to get this,’ and then again when I was at the Belmont (Massachusetts) library – right before I came here.”

Moving on Breen’s recommendation, Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library (BHML) began offering hoopla in 2016 as a free service provided to the community.

Listen, read, or watch from your computer, iPad or iPhone (iOS 13.0), android smartphones and tablets; Apple TV set up box (at the Apple App store); android TV (via Google Play store); Amazon streaming devices and its FireTV; and Roku. Be sure you have ample storage space on your devices! E-books are downloadable to one of these compatible devices, however, once the three-week lending period is up, the download will magically disappear.

Already a card-carrying BHML patron? Sign up for hoopla on the library website: https://bbhlibrary.org. Once on the home page, place your cursor on “digital” and away you go. If you’ve been a library patron for eons, when you get to the sign up part that asks for your library card number, add BBH in front of it. If you don’t have a card already, stop in to the library for a card and get signed up.

Breen reports that as of March 4 there are 505 library patterns using hoopla. Check out what’s available: audiobooks and e-books in all genres: comics (including Marvel); juvenile/young adult books; cookbooks, health and lifestyle – from cooking to meditation); there are The Great Courses video lectures on topics including astronomy; ancient `civilizations, astronomy, history, science, robotics, and many, many more; movies, TV (US and UK titles); comic books (including Marvel titles); music (all genres) … and it is all free!

Patrons of BHML can take out five titles per month, any combination of books, movies, TV, etc. Breen advises readers going for new releases will have better luck getting a copy through the cloudLibrary. And, of course, there’s always the wait list at the front desk for those eagerly anticipated titles.

Book availability on hoopla, Breen explained, is dependent on the relationship the streaming service has with the various publishing houses. Some of those publishers are Harper Collins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. For a complete list of those publishers, click here.

Adult audio books “overwhelmingly” make up the highest percentage of use on hoopla. “It’s mostly fiction (titles),” Breen said, “… like comfort ‘food.’ I like to take out sleep meditation and non fiction books.”

At the Boothbay Register, both Kevin Burnham and Joe Charpentier are among the hoopla audio book “readers.”

“Hoopla keeps me engaged at night…been a subscriber for about two years now,” said Burnham.

What’s everyone reading, watching or listening to? Breen shared the trending Top 5 hoopla selections, so far this year are “Mr. Mercedes”, Season 1; “Murdoch Mysteries,” Season 1; Barbara Ross’ “Clammed Up;” “The Girls in the Stilt House” by Kelly Mustain; and “the Best of Relaxing Music.”

And that, entertainment fans, is what all the hoopla is about.


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