CHICAGO — Starting next week, Chicagoans with library cards will be able to access free streaming movies and download unlimited magazines each month.
As the Chicago Public Library rolls out its new website — tentatively slated for a Wednesday release — the library also will offer access to Hoopla and Zinio, media and magazine services, said spokeswoman Ruth Lednicer.
Hoopla is an online program that partners with libraries to offer movies, television shows, music and audiobooks, Lednicer said. In Chicago, people will be able to download four items free per calendar month.
The library is also extending access to Zinio, which will provide unlimited downloads of more than 150 magazine titles. Once downloaded, these magazines are readers' to keep, Lednicer said.
Both services are available on smartphones, tablets or the Internet.
"It's a good idea. ... It will draw more people from off the streets," said Anthony Howard, a 28-year-old South Shore man who was using Internet Thursday at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.
The new services are being made available through a $1 million investment from the CPL Foundation, which has helped fund this year's website redesign.
"We're trying to create a best-in-class library website that others [around the country] can then copy," Lednicer said. Features like "save for later" lists and new browsing options were designed based on reader input.
The new website — which readers can access now in beta mode — is powered by BiblioCommons, popular library software already used in New York, Seattle, Austin and Evanston.
The Chicago website will let readers rate items and compare reviews across the entire BiblioCommons system, Lednicer said.
Library cards are free for Chicago residents and available at any library location.
Contributing: Tanveer Ali