Last week ‘hoopla’ arrived at Oxford’s Public Library. Instead of a CD or DVD case, it appeared in the form of shifting piles of sleek bookmarks, posters, laminated mats, two T-Shirts, and informative pins. Its logo loomed around the circulation desk, and its sky-blue lettering brightened the area.
What is ‘hoopla’?
One subtitle says, “Instantly borrow free digital movies, music and more, 24/7 with your library card”. As the L.A. Times described it when the Los Angeles Public Library offered it last year, ‘it’s the Netflix of the library’.
However, this is an understatement. Netflix is neither free, nor has thousands of music titles, nor a surprisingly well rounded audio-book selection.
My first experience with the new service was searching for a horror movie. It was the day before Halloween, late, and I wanted gore and terror. Signing into hoopla for the first time was easy, easier than signing into a computer in the library. As soon as I had entered my barcode number and pin number, I entered my email, created a password, and had immediate access to more horror films than I ever anticipated. After finding The Evil Dead, I pressed ‘borrow’…
A few days later, it was sunny and autumnal. A football game made driving around town too much of a hassle. The thought occurred to me that hoopla had audiobooks, and I could play them on my phone. With one fell swoop, I had downloaded the app, signed in with my email address, and found my way to the audiobooks. Ideally, I would to listen to Edgar Allen Poe as I walked through the resplendent gloom of the forest. Under the classics category, there were several audiobooks of Poe’s short stories. I pressed ‘borrow’ on the first collection that had popped up on the screen. It streamed into my ears for 3 hours as I wandered and stumbled upon ponds, witnessed sunbeams illuminate pools of pine needles, and lost my breath as The House of Usher collapsed upon itself.
Overall, my first impressions of hoopla: it’s easy, well organized, and has a huge selection that nicely complements the library’s own collection. Their audiobook selection is boundless. Right now, the movie selection appears to favor horror and yoga tutorials, but this could simply be seasonal.
**If you have any questions or comments on hoopla please post below or come in and talk with us at the circulation desk. **