In July, LAist announced that you could stream hundreds of movies from the Criterion Collection for free if you had a Los Angeles Public Library card. We immediately reached out to the New York Public Library inquiring about our own hidden benefits as library card holders, and at the time they did not offer access to Kanopy's streaming service, which the LAPL uses. But lo and behold, they have now decided to add it (you're welcome?)—starting Friday August 4th, anyone with a library card (both NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library) will have access to hundreds of movies. Here's what you need to know:

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Bonus: Kanopy has an easily searchable site.

  • You'll need to go to nypl.kanopystreaming.com, or bklynlibrary.kanopystreaming.com, or access the site via the Library's Articles & Databases page.
  • You will need to create a sign-in, and then punch in your library card number and PIN.
  • You can view up to 10 movies per month with an NYPL card, and 6 per month with a BPL card.
  • Once started, you will have three days to watch each movie.
  • Videos are accessible with captions, transcripts, and compatibility with assistive technologies.
  • Films can be watched from anywhere, anytime, on smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart TVs.

Kanopy offers a broad selection of more than 30,000 feature films, documentaries, foreign language, and training videos. And yes, as part of the Kanopy subscription, you will have access to the Criterion Collection (around 400 movies), which focuses on licensing "important classic and contemporary films."

Don't have a library card? You can get one instantly through the NYPL's SimplyE app; that card will get you immediate access to hundreds of thousands of NYPL e-books, but for physical materials and any other databases (like Kanopy), you will need to go to a branch, and "upgrade" your e-card to a full access library card.

More information on getting a NYPL card can be found here; and more on getting a BPL card can be found here.