Free digital media at Chicago Public Library. The CPL provides patrons with free access to digital media through hoopla which allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, phone and TV. With no waiting, titles can be streamed immediately.
How to get a free hoopla account
You must have a CPL library card and you need an online account with a pin number. Set up an online account. Go to the hoopla website or app to set up an account. Once you create a login you will be required to enter your library card number and pin. I had a problem setting mine up. I emailed Ask a Librarian who responded in a couple hours and reset my pin. You can also call (312) 747-4300 if you have a problem. Once you get past that type in Chicago and the Chicago Public Library will come up in the drop down. Click on that and you’re good to go.
How it works
The CPL allows patrons to borrow up to 6 titles from hoopla each month. There are audiobook, movie, music, comic, ebook and television titles. You can browse by category – audiobook, ebook, movies etc. and filter down to more specific categories. Look closely at what you’re thinking about borrowing because some tv shows and movies are only available for streaming and downloading on mobile. Generally movies and television titles are available for 72 hours after you borrow it. What’s really irritating is that each episode of a television series counts toward your six titles per month! Ebooks and audiobooks are good for 21 days. Music is available for 7 days after you borrow it.
The selection is not that great but it is free. I’m sure it’s a combination of greedy movie and television studios and limited library funding. There are a lot of titles available but a lot of things I’ve never heard of or really old stuff. When I’m browsing I click on the box “released this year.” Still if you’ve cut the cable I’m sure you can find something to entertain yourself for free.
When you login it shows you what you’ve borrowed and how many you have left for the month. They also make recommendations based on what you’ve borrowed previously. Finally when you sign up hoopla automatically subscribes you to their email. You can turn that off under Settings.