How to stream 30,000 free movies with your Philly library card

Free Library and chill, anyone?

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Update 1:30 p.m.: According to the library, the service will be live by end of day Nov. 1: “We’re waiting for the folks in California to turn on their part.”

Update 6:30 p.m.: Per a rep from Kanopy, the service is now live! Sign up here:

As of Nov. 1, Philly residents have access to a new catalog of 30,000 movies, TV shows, documentaries and other films. They’re all available to watch on-demand, anytime you want — for free. All you need is a library card.

That’s thanks to streaming service Kanopy, which already works with 3,000 college campuses around the world and is now getting in with the library community.

To access the movies, just visit and log in with your library card. Boom, done, no credit card information required.

Free Library cardholders can “check out” up to four movies a month, from a collection that includes everything from contemporary action flicks like “Oldboy” to classic dramas (“All Quiet on the Western Front”) to cult-favorite thrillers (David Lynch’s Philly-inspired “Eraserhead” is there) to silly comedies like “The Knot.”

If you’re one of the people who checked out an average of 7,450 or so titles a month over the past year, you know the Free Library did already offer access to some streaming content via a service called Hoopla. But where Hoopla focuses on TV shows, audiobooks and graphic novels, the new service concentrates on feature-length films. In fact, almost half of the Hoopla titles checked out were audiobooks, not visual products.

“With Kanopy we have an opportunity to add a new product that focuses exclusively on movies,” a Free Library representative explained to Billy Penn. The service’s access to movies from houses like Criterion and Janus Films makes it a valuable entertainment resource, the library rep said.

Don’t worry, Hoopla access isn’t going anywhere. It will continue alongside Kanopy, with each cardholder allocated an additional four “checkouts” for a total of eight streamed items per month.


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