This Free App Lets You Stream Thousands of Movies with Only a Library Card

comedy movie laughing TV remote
Westend61/Getty Images

Without bars and travel, streaming is life. Unfortunately, The Office has been binged on Netflix for the umpteenth time, Game of Thrones rewatched on HBO, Tiger King is done, and Too Hot To Handle checked. We’ve even resorted to watching all six Tremors movies. (Yes, there are six and only the first one has Kevin Bacon.) If you’re as desperate as us for things to watch, don’t pay for another platform — get your library card out and download Kanopy.

While physical libraries remain closed due to COVID-19, Kanopy offers all the movies, TV shows, and documentaries from public and university libraries available digitally. For free.

You won’t find the cringy movies and shows being churned out by for-profit streaming sites. (*cough* Birdbox *cough*). Instead, Kanopy has a brilliant and rich variety of indie award-winners, blockbuster hits, world cinema staples, as well as tons of learning courses and documentaries. My favorite is the entire Criterion Collection section. Mmm, Federico Fellini.

Moreover, Kanopy is free. Like, $0 a month. All you need is a library card. Fun fact: You can get a library card online in minutes so really you don’t need anything to enjoy the entertainment on Kanopy. Download the app on your smart TV or tablet and enter your library card information. To see if your local library or university offers Kanopy, check here.

The app automatically gives you eight credits a month; each movie counts as one credit. However, there is also an entire “Credit-Free Viewing” section to stream to your heart’s content. There’s also a Kanopy Kids collection for young ones ns, but they need library cards as well.

The on-demand streaming platform was founded in 2008 and yet we are today years old when we discovered it. Perfect timing, since there is plenty of streaming on the horizon. Better yet, quality streaming. The platform’s slogan says it all: “Enjoy Thoughtful Entertainment.” Sure, Joe Exotic is entertaining, but it wasn’t until we started digging into Kanopy movies that we realized how parched our brains and eyes were for actual movie magic.

Some Kanopy standouts include: Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, Moonlight; Golden Globe Award Winner for Best Picture, Ladybird; the insanely terrifying summer horror movie, Midsommar; and Memento, Mid90s, Donnie Darko, The Disaster Artist, Dogtooth, Oldboy, Ex Machina, and so many more.

Discover foreign films you might have never tried before and experiment with obscure arthouse masterpieces that could change your life. Again, for free. Either way, the plethora of quality streaming options on Kanopy will tide us over until they release the Tiger King remake starring Nicolas Cage … or a seventh Tremors movie.

Editors' Recommendations