If you have a library card in certain SouthCoast communities, you also have access to a unique digital streaming service that contains over 30,000 films, documentaries, rarities and children’s programs all through the magic of that card.

The Wareham Free Library recently announced it is now giving patrons access to Kanopy, which contains hit movies, classic films, and hard-to-find titles.

In order to access the service, patrons need only a library card from a participating library, and then they can stream the content from any computer, television, mobile device, or via the Kanopy app for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku.

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Wareham Free Library Director Patrick Marshall said he added the Kanopy service to the Bourne Public Library’s offerings when he was the director there, and that in December of last year he started working on bringing it to Wareham.

“It’s a good service,” he said. “It’s a lot of art house movies, a lot of documentaries that the more popular services don’t have. It has a nice kids’ Kanopy as well, with a lot of your favorite kids shows. There are the Great Courses in there. There’s a good mix of a lot of different services.”

Other SouthCoast libraries offering Kanopy include the Elizabeth Taber Library in Marion, the Mattapoisett Free Public Library, Fairhaven’s Millicent Library, Dartmouth Public Libraries and the Fall River Public Library. More may also begin offering it down the road.

“Kanopy came out and offered an introductory price for libraries that haven't had it before, so I do know a lot of libraries were looking at it and were interested,” Marshall said.

Marshall said one of the best parts of offering the Kanopy service to library patrons is that the library is only charged for the usage rather than having to purchase the actual video. He said a lot of eBook and audiobook companies “charge exorbitant fees to purchase whatever book,” and that while they may charge the general public $18 or $20 for an eBook, they charge libraries $80 or more for the same book. The companies also limit how many people can use the eBook at once.

“They still treat it as a library book,” Marshall said. “If you and I want the same eBook at the same time, whoever gets to it first gets it, and the other has to wait. But with Kanopy, if five of us want to check out the same video, we can do it. And the library is only paying for the usage, not for the items themselves.”

Right now, Wareham patrons are limited to five checkouts a month through Kanopy, a number that could lower should it become extremely popular and begin costing the library more than it can afford to pay for the service, but Marshall said he doesn’t foresee that happening. In addition, the service has unlimited rentals for children’s programs and films with Kanopy Kids.

As libraries evolve to fit into 21st century technologies, services like Kanopy will become more common; however, Marshall said the “No. 1 checkout for libraries is still the hardback book.”

“Libraries are still doing all the things we remember as kids, but we’re also always updating to what’s current,” he said. “We’ll keep looking at more online resources, more options in the digital world, but the hardcover world isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

You can access Kanopy here in order to sign in with your library card.

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