HERKIMER, N.Y. – The Mid-York Library System recently added another way to use a library card – and another reason for those without a card to sign up for one.

The system has partnered with hoopla digital to offer library patrons free access to digital movies, TV shows, music, ebooks and more using their library card.

They can instantly enjoy on-demand content via their smartphones, tablets, PCs, Apple TV, and Chromecast, according to a news release from Mid-York. "We already offer digital services, but this is different – it’s streaming services," said

Wanda Bruchis, executive director of Mid-York Library System. "People can borrow instantly, streaming it to their computers or mobile devices."

There is no waiting, ever, for any title, she said. If everyone in the Mid-York Library System wanted to check out a popular title, they could do so simultaneously. "And there’s 24-7 access."

The service launched Monday in all 43 libraries in Mid-York’s three-county service area, according to Bruchis. "It became available to everybody with a library card and an email address," she said. She recommended that those interested in checking out the offerings visit hoopladigital.com. "You can access comic books, movies, ebooks, audio books and TV shows."

While the latest releases might not be offered, she said, the service offers a solid selection of entertainment and documentary type films with some Disney films and foreign films. She added that the selection has improved since Mid-York first looked at hoopla a year ago.

Training for library staff was offered at Mid-York offices in Utica and bookmarks and handouts were given to member libraries to distribute.

"Some folks don’t step into a library," said Bruchis. "There’s a lot of use of library materials online. This provides a different layer of accessing library material."

When asked if the new service was added in response to a demand, she said Mid-York requests input from member libraries when it prepares its strategic five-year plan of service. "Universally they said there was a need for some kind of streaming services to patrons."

Many people are using mobile devices exclusively, she said. "

It’s amazing how people are harnessing the technology in so many different ways." She added that launching hoopla "is meeting the demand of people who want stuff instantly. It’s great libraries can offer this type of service to the community."

Librarian Christine Fleischer, of Basloe Library in Herkimer, said the library staff has been talking with people at the library and offering information about the new service.

"We’ve been offering to help people set up accounts," she said. "It’s very easy to do, but we’re here to help if people want use to. It’s a great service. I’m excited to see how far it will go."

She said to be eligible for the three free downloads a month the service offers to any one email address, one must have a library card, PIN number, name of his or her home library and an email address.

"I tried it myself and it’s kind of cool," said Sandra Zaffarano, director of the Middleville Free Public Library. She said she hasn’t had people asking about it yet, but that might be because she made a point of talking about it in advance to the people who would be interested. "I knew who would like it at first," she said, adding, "We’re very excited about it."

Mid York signed a two-year agreement with hoopla to offer the service, Bruchis said. "Hoopla is a third party vendor. They negotiate with publishing entities as to what they could make available."

The Jervis Library in Rome and Utica Public Library are assisting Mid York with the cost. "

It’s a pretty hefty lift, but it’s definitely worthwhile," she said.

"It’s really and truly helping us provide the information needs for all of our people in the community," said Bruchis. "This addresses accessibility. Libraries are moving far beyond books and bricks. This helps us do that."