Coronado Public Library is continuing on its trajectory of technological innovation as one of the first libraries in the United States to take part in the launch of a new streaming movie service. Biblio+ offers a selection of top mainstream movies in a similar format to Netflix but free to library patrons.
The service is provided by Bibliotheca, formerly 3M, which numbers 30,000 libraries among its customers, but Coronado patrons will be able to preview the Beta version of the service initially with only two other libraries in the US and one in Canada. Bibliotheca cited the Coronado Public Library’s willingness to innovate and provide product feedback as reasons Coronado was invited to take part in the Beta trial. The relationship was built in 2019 during discussions around the installation of new self-checkout machines and library security gates at the library.
Here’s how it works: patrons can find movies from doing a search in the library’s catalog, or by using the Biblio+ app, available from any app store. The first time the service is used, patrons will need to log in with their library card number and PIN.
Although Biblio+ offers popular mainstream movies, users won’t have to wait on hold to watch the movie they want. Biblio+ differs from many other library online video services in that several patrons can watch the same video at the same time and there is no limit to the number of videos patrons can watch or how many times they watch them. By contrast, the library’s other streaming video service, Kanopy, has a limit of seven videos a month per patron, and the library pays per view. If a patron watches only a few minutes of a Kanopy video it counts as a view for both the patron and the library.
A flat annual fee for the library and unlimited access for patrons means Biblio+ movies can be used by the library for social activities like discussion groups, enhancing the library’s event options. Usage and costs for Kanopy more than doubled during the pandemic and patrons have expressed a strong desire to see more streaming movies and tv shows from the library.
Biblio+ is projected to spread to many thousands of libraries across the country over the next two years, so Coronado Public Library is excited to offer its patrons this sneak peak. The library is continuing its Kanopy service as well, which includes a different profile of content such as documentaries, foreign movies and less mainstream material.
“Coronado has an excellent DVD collection but discs quickly become worn out, whereas streaming movies are like-new quality every time,” said Library Director Shaun Briley. “This service has the look and feel of services such as Netflix and Prime Video that our patrons are already familiar with so it is very easy to use.”
Briley warned that patrons might find some glitches with the Beta product but that their feedback is part of the process that will make this service a success for other library users in future. “This is a glimpse of what getting a movie from the library will look like in the future,” he said.