TikTok creator Lorraine Fisher (@lorraine..fisher) recently posted a video to clue viewers into Kanopy, a free streaming service available to many people through their public library.
The video has 2 million views and almost 204,000 likes.
@lorraine..fisher Share this and spread the word! 😄 #freestreaming #free #library #movies #tvshows #kanopy #freestreamingservice #viral #fyp #sharethis #sharethelove ♬ original sound – Lorraine Fisher
“If you live in an area near a library, and it’s easy for you to get a library card, you have access to a free streaming service I swear no one knows about,” Fisher says in the video, “with hundreds, maybe thousands of free TV shows and movies you can watch for free.”
To access Kanopy, she says, all you need is your library card number.
“I love Kanopy! It’s the only reason I got a library card in my new city,” one person commented.
“So many classic films and docs,” a second added.
“I have seen one of the scariest movies ever on Kanopy and I LIVEEEEEE,” another chimed in.
Availability for Kanopy varies by library, and several commenters lamented their lack of access. “Kanopy is VERY expensive for libraries so unfortunately not all of them are able to have it. [Remember] to vote in support of library funding,” one person commented.
Another viewer added, “librarian here! many public libraries do have kanopy, but not all. check out their resources page to see what other streaming video options they have!”
Several commenters also pointed out that many universities give students access to Kanopy.
And a few folks touted all the great things their libraries offer besides books and movies: “My library has passes you can check out for the local museums and camping gear it’s awesome!”
“I work in a library and I am always telling people that you get [so] much more free stuff at libraries other than books!” another commented.
Fisher told the Daily Dot via email, “We just recently discovered it through our library and I figured I should share it with whoever I can! I’m glad the word is getting out about all libraries have to offer.”
She also mentioned digital media libraries Hoopla and Libby as “great resources” that many people can find through their local branches, if they aren’t connected to Kanopy.
“Libraries offer so much!” Fisher said.
As a Kanopy user with access through my local library, I’ll join the chorus and say it’s well worth downloading. A caveat not mentioned in Fisher’s video: Your library might limit the amount of material you can stream each month. Mine gives me four “credits,” or plays, each month.
And, as you might expect from a streaming service accessible through libraries, Kanopy has a wealth of movies and TV, running the gamut from popular flicks to obscure rarities. Where else can you watch A24 hits, French new wave cinema, and “The Brady Bunch Movie” all in one day?
Here are a few recommendations from me:
- You can find work by several queer cinema icons on Kanopy, like Derek Jarman (“Edward II” and a lot more), Todd Haynes (“Poison”), Gregg Araki (“The Living End”), and Cheryl Dunye (“The Watermelon Woman”).
- “The Reflecting Skin” from 1990 is a truly unique and unsettling horror-ish flick starring Viggo Mortensen and Lindsay Duncan.
- Kanopy is a classic film lover’s dream, with the kind of deep-cut stuff you usually only find on Turner Classic Movies. A good one to sample: “Ball of Fire,” Howard Hawks’ gangsters-and-encyclopedias riff on “Snow White,” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper.
Beyond my picks, Kanopy has so much more to offer, and you’ll use up those credits quickly.
The Daily Dot reached out to Kanopy via email for more information.