With regret, the Berks County Public Library System will discontinue its countywide subscription to the digital downloading service, hoopla, beginning January 1, 2019.
Hoopla, one of two digital borrowing services available to all Berks County library patrons, provides e-materials to cardholders of participating libraries including e-books, audiobooks, comics, movies, and TV shows. Previously restricted to only Reading Public Library patrons, the Library System opened hoopla up to all Berks County residents in early 2017 through financial contributions to Reading’s subscription. Patrons from any of the 19 member libraries could instantly download titles without the need for holds. A monthly cap limited users to five downloads per month, helping stretch the budget over the course of a year.
Since September 2017, the number of Berks County library patrons using hoopla has nearly doubled.
“Due to an increasing number of cardholders utilizing the service, the budgeted funds allocated for hoopla materials is being reached quicker than anticipated,” states Library System Administrator Amy Resh.
The Library System will continue offering hoopla to patrons throughout the remainder of 2018, though patrons are cautioned that the demand for digital downloads may consume the remaining funds before December 31. A few libraries expressed interest in possibly offering hoopla to their registered patrons.
“It’s unfortunate because of budget restraints we couldn’t sustain the growing popularity of hoopla as a countywide service,” says Resh, “however, many of the same titles can be found on library shelves.”
Patrons preferring digital materials can continue to borrow from OverDrive, which is available online or through easily downloadable apps for Apple, Android, and Microsoft devices. Those with additional questions regarding OverDrive service should contact their local library.
With the upcoming transition away from hoopla, the Berks County Public Library System is taking steps to ensure no user will be left out of the digital experience. The lending platform OverDrive and its award-winning Libby app make borrowing effortless with friendly and intuitive features combined with simple, one-click downloads.
A customer favorite at libraries across the country, OverDrive provides access to thousands of e-books, audiobooks, and videos all on one app. As the Library System shifts its focus away from hoopla, it is dedicated to creating a rich, digital experience for e-book and audiobook consumers. Additional materials will be added to the countywide digital collection, and users will have the opportunity to request specific books from a catalog of over 2 million titles.
Providing access to materials while maintaining a user-friendly experience continues to remain a priority for the Library System. After much research and deliberation, it was noted that OverDrive excels in its variety of resources and accessibility while maintaining a feasible cost model for longevity of service.
“OverDrive is a sustainable service for the System, with a wide variety of titles for all users” states Library System Administrator Amy Resh. “By focusing our efforts on growing this digital collection, we will quickly close the gap left by hoopla.”
Those with additional questions regarding OverDrive service, or who want to make purchase suggestions, should contact their local library.