Skip to content

Kanopy: A World of Streaming From the Library

| April 5, 2024 | By

Along with books and much more, your library card is also the key to unlocking a world of streaming movies and TV.

April 7-13, 2024, marks National Library Week. This tribute to the power of books began in 1958 to encourage people to read more.

In today’s world of e-books, there’s still something to be said for holding a physical book in your hands and flipping the pages. A library card is a ticket to worlds beyond our own and a key to exploration and imagination.

To see the pride on a little girl’s face as she selects some special books and walks out of the library filled with wonder and eagerness to experience a new story or learn about a new place is priceless. (I was that little girl throughout my childhood.)

Today, your library can give you amazing content, from your own living room, via Kanopy.

What Is Kanopy?

The Kanopy streaming service is free to those who have a library card. For families that are watching their pennies and dollars, a free collection of films is rare, and especially when they do not have commercials. All it takes is going to a library and being issued a library card, if you don’t already have one.

Once the Kanopy app is downloaded, it is easy to set it up, using the number on the library card and the location of your local library. Most libraries are part of the Kanopy system.

Every month, 12 credits are issued to each user. They expire at the end of each month, and the remaining credits do not roll over. Some films necessitate two credits and a few require four credits. Viewers are allowed 72 hours to stream a title.

Kanopy itself is divided into genres: Movies, Classic Films, Documentaries, Oscar winners, Comedy, Music, and plenty more, and searching is as easy as typing in the title of whatever you want to see.

Keep in mind, the films and TV shows in the main area of the app are not all G-rated. Many are not appropriate for young viewers, that is why they have the dedicated Kanopy Kids area at the top.

Whether you want to learn about gardening, cooking, or history, there is a show here for you. Also, viewers can create their own watch list which makes it convenient when accessing the app.

NOTE: The ratings for content in Kanopy range from G-R. Parents are encouraged to set up Parental Controls.

Here's how the Los Angeles County Library explains how to get started:


Kanopy Kids -- Unlimited Plays

Kanopy Kids is a dedicated section in the app, all its own, with shows geared just for preschoolers and youngsters. And unlike the shows for older viewers, Kanopy Kids lets viewers watch unlimited plays with no expiration.

The selection in Kanopy Kids is filled with titles that are G-rated. Many of these shows have been shown on PBS Kids, and many are taken from popular kids' books. There are several sections within Kanopy Kids.

There is a Read-Along section where kids can read the story as it plays out on screen. Storybooks are brought to life and for those who can read, they get the added enjoyment of not only seeing the pages come alive but listening to them while they are reading along with the narrator or the characters.

The Classic Tales section includes many of the stories that have been enjoyed by generations: Corduroy, The Three Little Pigs, Chicken Little, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Curious George, and more. The Funny Stuff area offers several humorous stories that will entertain and amuse youngsters.

Kanopy Kids also offers episodes of Sesame Street, Max & Ruby, Reading Rainbow, The Berenstain Bears, and more. Besides all of these, Arthur, Xavier Riddle, Rosie’s Rules, Odd Squad, and Nature Cat have joined the Kanopy Kids collection.

And for fans of Paddington Bear, there are several episodes starring that adorable little British bear.

Parents can rest assured that there are plenty of fun shows and educational ones as well that will amuse kids for hours on end. And the benefit of Kanopy Kids is free, unlimited views, with no deduction of monthly credits.

Again, the L.A. County Library introduces Kanopy Kids:


National Library Week

National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature and Newbery and Pura Belpré-award winning author Meg Medina is the 2024 Honorary Chair of National Library Week.

She said, “Libraries connect our communities and enrich our lives in ways we may not realize, and one of my greatest pleasures is discovering the unexpected and beautiful things libraries offer.”

Libraries and a library card opens up a world full of experiences for all ages. As a child, I cherished the hours I spent in libraries. Times are different, but libraries are still viable places where everyone can enjoy a variety of experiences.

There’s never a better time to introduce your kids to the wonders of libraries.

The Milwaukee Public Library explains how to access Kanopy from various devices:


Image: Adobe Stock

Francine Brokaw is a longtime journalist, covering entertainment, product reviews and travel, and is the host of Beyond the Red Carpet on Village Television and YouTube.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Related Articles