The region’s Valnet library system adopted the film streaming service Kanopy, which lets you watch movies for free on any computer, smart television, mobile device or other platform after you download the Kanopy app or visit https://valnet.kanopy.com/.
Think of Kanopy like Netflix, except free with a better selection.
In the May 30 edition of Inland 360 I offered an overview of the audio/e-book app Libby being offered through Valnet. Today I’ll walk you through Kanopy. Download the app and enter your library card number for access to more than 30,000 movies, documentaries and instructional videos.
Start making your popcorn. I’ll show you how easy it is with screenshots from my phone.
Like rules for borrowing library items, there are simple rules for borrowing from Kanopy. Each library card holder gets six credits per month. A film is one credit. Once you hit play, you have 72 hours to watch it. If you don’t watch it, it still uses your credit. Credits reset to six on the first of each month, whether you’ve used them or not.
There are five people in my household with library card numbers. That means we have access to 30 films each month using our respective numbers.
Browsing on Kanopy is as smooth as any other popular streaming service, but because of its focus on education (Kanopy’s motto is “thoughtful entertainment”), you’re not going to find the latest box office blockbuster. You will find tons of foreign and independent films and award-winning documentaries, including PBS documentaries. Love classic films? You’ll find a vast array under Must-See Classic Film. Other browsing categories include Oscar Winners and Nominees, Trending Now, New York Times Critics’ Picks, Feel-Good Film and Directed By Women.
Kanopy also has the Great Courses, a series of college-level videos exploring a huge range of topics, from history and technology to language and art.
I’ve been longing to learn more about drawing and found a series of videos about it in the Great Courses section. I added this course to my Watchlist so I can easily find it when I have time to watch.
If you have young children, in the drop-down menu you can select Go To Kanopy Kids, and it takes you to a separate browsing area with cartoons, TV shows and other educational programming specifically for children. I would say most of the content would appeal to kids younger than 8, although some shows may appeal to older kids.
Here are a couple other things to know about Kanopy.
Any of Kanopy’s programs can be streamed at public gatherings, as long as they are free events, not for commercial benefit. This is a great option for schools and other community groups.
If there’s a title you want, one difference between Kanopy and Libby is that your local librarian does not have the ability to add requested movies to Kanopy. You get what you get; however, new content is constantly being added.
Now all you have to do is browse. Many of the films you’ll encounter are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere, but for me the best things about Kanopy are the cost (nothing!) and emphasis on expanding cultural and social horizons. Guess what my kids get to hear when they ask if they can watch TV this summer? “Yes, if it’s something on Kanopy.” And they’ll groan, “Oh Mom!”
But moms gotta push the mental vegetables too.