Netflix offers thousands of video titles to stream for about $10 a month.
The Kansas City Public Library offers more than 30,000 titles — for free. And it’s available to anyone in the metro area.
The library recently signed up with Kanopy, a streaming video service with a catalog that includes documentaries, indie films and foreign titles as well as classic and contemporaneous movies from the Criterion Collection.
“It’s an absolutely huge asset,” said library spokeswoman Courtney Lewis. “It really enhances our collection. It gives patrons access to material not on Netflix.”
Joel Jones, deputy director of library services, said “the streaming capability is the most accessible format we have ever offered in terms of quantity of films...”
Kanopy is accessible to people who live in other area library districts, whether it is Mid-Continent, Kansas City, Kan., Johnson County or Olathe. But those people will also need to sign up for a Kansas City Public Library card to access kclibrary.kanopystreaming.com The minimum age is 13.
Those other library districts offer streaming video, as well, but their catalogs are much more limited. The Mid-Continent has InstantFlix and OverDrive Video. Johnson County has InstantFlix and Naxos Video Library. Kansas City, Kan., has Hoopla and is looking into Kanopy. Olathe has IndieFlix and Naxos Video Library.
Patrons can view up to 12 Kanopy movies a month with a three-day window to watch each one. The count resets on the first of every month.
Titles are available for streaming on any device, inckuding Roku, iOS and Android apps on phones, tablets and smart TVs.
The New York Times reports that more than 200 library systems have signed up with Kanopy so far.