Libraries to offer free video platform

In preaching the mantra of “a library is so much more than books,” Venango County’s three public libraries are getting into online live streaming of films, documentaries and more.

The service, a video platform that rolls out Monday, is available free to all Oil City, Franklin and Cooperstown library card holders.

“We’re always gauging the public needs as well as our resources,” said Dan Flaherty, director of the Oil Region Library Association (ORLA) that is composed of the three local libraries. “And the content in this program, Kanopy, has lots of educational films, documentaries, young people’s programs, movies and that all fits our mission.”

The films available through the Kanopy program, described by the service as an educational tool designed to “bridge cultural boundaries and bring people together,” can be accessed on a variety of electronic devices, including television, computer or mobile.

Kanopy offers more than 30,000 films, including documentaries and classic movies, as well as PBS programming, foreign language films and independent films.

There is a subdivision, Kanopy Kids, that provides a variety of educational and entertainment videos.

“You simply need a library card,” said Flaherty. “You go to your library’s website and sign up for Kanopy with your library card.”

Library patrons can download the app or visit and sign up with their library card.

“Each of our library’s websites will have a link to Kanopy,” said the library director. “It’s easy to do.”

Library card holders who tap into Kanopy will have a limit of 10 films or other videos per month. However, said Flaherty, that may soon be expanded depending on patrons’ usage.

“Our library card holders will pay nothing for this new service,” said Flaherty. “We are paying for it out of our collection budget. This is considered a digital collection.”

While there are no fees to use the new service, there also are no commercials in any of the videos provided by Kanopy.

“We are excited about this,” said Flaherty. “It’s one more reason why our libraries are so valuable for our public.”