Skip to main content

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.

Related Videos

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

Ranked: The best Leonardo DiCaprio movies
Does your favorite Leonard DiCaprio movie make the list?
Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception.

Since he first emerged as a major heartthrob in the 1990s, Leonardo DiCaprio has consistently been one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Thanks to his collaborations with some of the best directors in the world, and his insistence on choosing only the roles that he cares most about, Leo has established the kind of career that few modern Hollywood stars can match; he's been in everything from great action movies to outright comedies.

These are the movies that most define Leo's career and the ones that any new fan of the actor should check out first.

Read more
The best competitive cooking shows to watch in 2023
From Nailed It! to Chopped, here are our top cooking contest shows
The scene from the show American BBQ Showdown

Food Fight! No, not the messy one of your youth that involved hurling lunch across the room and subsequent detention. We're talking about the competitive cooking show, television's greatest culinary challenge.

These shows have come a long way. From the early days of Food Network to today, we've seen a tremendous growth in this food-tastic style of game show. Now, a good showing on one of these popular programs can land you a serious role at one of the best restaurants in America.

Read more
How to smoke a cigar like you know what you’re doing
Everything you need to know about smoking a cigar properly.
how to smoke a cigar

From e-cigarettes to CBG joints, we're inundated these days with all kinds of things to inhale. Against this backdrop, though, the cigar has simply carried on, relying on distinctive tobacco and blends thereof to offer a real, tangible smoking experience without any related high. Really, it's about the flavor and, while we acknowledge the health concerns, the aesthetic. There's something sexy about a person with a cigar in hand, especially if they know what they're doing.

Read more