GAINESVILLE — With the click of a mouse, library cardholders can now access hundreds of movies without ever having to leave home.
The Hall County Library System recently began offering a unique video-on-demand service called MyLibraryDV.
"We’re excited to offer this new service because it supplements the downloadable books that we’ve got for the public," said Jeanne Hozak, assistant director for adult services for the library.
"These downloadable videos really will give people a whole new approach to things."
The service, created by Recorded Books, is available to any Hall County library cardholder with a broadband Internet connection.
People can choose from more than 500 videos, including award-winning movies, foreign and independent films and lifestyle programming, such as "Antiques Roadshow," "America’s Test Kitchen" and "Today’s Homeowner."
"They’re constantly adding and updating more entertainment videos and more educational programming," Hozak said.
And, with simultaneous access to videos, "There’s never a wait," she said.
Library director Adrian Mixson said a soldier who had recently returned home from Iraq came by the library to thank them for helping him keep in touch with home through the video service.
If the soldier is called back overseas, he can borrow a classic movie or travel video, as well as an audio book.
"It is pretty amazing that you can use your library no matter where you are in the world," Mixson said.
Lisa MacKinney, assistant director of human resources and public relations for the library system, said she thinks the videos about travel, food and home improvement tips will be popular.
The homeowner videos "are really a good series," she said.
MacKinney also said people who have book clubs can incorporate videos into their discussions.
"That would be a fun way to spice things up," she said.
Hozak said the video service will also be useful to students.
If students are having a tough time understanding "Romeo and Juliet" or "Hamlet," they can download a movie on their computer to help them better understand what they’re reading.
"It’s just a whole new service that hasn’t generally been offered by libraries," Hozak said. "It’s really touching all age groups."
The video-on-demand system supplements a feature that the library began offering two years ago.
In 2005 the library system began featuring downloadable audio books, which have proven especially popular with commuters, business travelers and the visually impaired.
These users often have difficulty coming to the library to check out materials, a problem solved by the ability to use a home computer to download the books.