Just in time for winter’s arrival, the Iowa City Public Library (ICPL) has partnered with a new streaming service to bring members audiobooks, e-books, comics, movies, television shows and music.
hoopla is the digital service of Midwest Tape, an Ohio-based company that distributes entertainment media to public libraries across North America. It has over a million items in its collection in over 75 different languages and adds new titles weekly. All you need is your library card and your phone or computer.
The service is available to ICPL cardholders living in Iowa City, University Heights, Lone Tree, Hills and rural Johnson County. ICCSD students can also access it using their AIM card, if they live in the service area. To sign up, you’ll type in your library card number, your card’s password/pin and your email address.
You can rent out audiobooks, ebooks and comics for three weeks; movies and television shows for three days; and full albums for one week. There are no holds for any titles, and you can borrow up to eight items per month.
Scrolling through their catalog of audiobooks, you’ll see titles like The House of Gucci by Sara Forden, a popular book for fans of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. There are picks from Oprah’s Book Club, and New York Times bestsellers like The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins, a prequel to the Hunger Games series.
Their e-book category has a “Trending on TikTok” section. Where else could you see Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice next to Divergent by Veronica Roth? (Mr. Darcy would clearly be a member of the Erudite faction, though he has his Candor and Amity strides.)
In hoopla’s “Top Titles of All Time,” you’ll find 1984 by George Orwell, because of course, and Bird Box by Josh Malerman, as seen on Netflix starring Sandra Bullock.
The comics category has classic graphic novels like Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Nimona by ND Stevenson, and famous comic series like Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, his best work in this medium.
And there are endless superhero comics, too. My recommendations are Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon by Matt Fraction and David Aja, and Spider-Gwen Vol. 0: Most Wanted? by Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez.
In the movies category, you can watch Oscar winners Moonlight and Ex Machina, failed Oscar hopeful The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (which was nominated for Weirdest Name in 2018), and classics like My Cousin Vinny and Moonstruck.
hoopla organizes movies by decade, in addition to other sections, reaching all the way back to the 1920s with old Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton movies. You’ll also find cult classics; I’d suggest the 1999 movie But I’m a Cheerleader, a dark rom-com about a young cheerleader whose parents send her to a conversion camp after suspecting she’s a lesbian.
Compared to their other categories, hoopla has an inchoate selection of television shows — well, unless you’re a fan on Ken Burns docuseries, or the 2002 limited series Dinotopia, about a utopia where anthropomorphic dinosaurs and humans coexist. There’s an entire section dedicated to Sonic the Hedgehog and Clifford the Big Red Dog, which oddly contains audiobooks.
In music, Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift dominate the “Top of 2021 So Far” section. There’s also a section for 2022 Grammy Award nominees, starring some of my favorites, St. Vincent, Cory Henry and Jon Batiste.
hoopla is available on the iOS app store, Google Play store and Amazon. You can download the hoopla app to FireTV, AppleTV, AndroidTV, Chromcast and Roku. It’s also on Amazon Alexa and Kindle Fire.