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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.


By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, July 10, 2016

Its name is HOOPLA.


It doesn’t sound like anything associated with a public library and not something that we staid librarians would use in a sentence.


But it is the newest; and most extensive online database now available to library card holders of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.


“Hoopla” is an old term meaning, “excited commotion,” or “utterance designed to bewilder.”


What a wonderful word to describe the new “Hoopla” available to library customers.


Hoopla is a digital download service for library card holders that features over a half million videos, music, eBooks, comics, and audiobooks.


And it is updated weekly with new items that are now available!


The great thing is that ALL items are available immediately due to our contractual agreements, so no waiting!  No overdue fines, as the items return themselves.


(Wow, if we could figure out how to do that with our paperbound books from the library.)


Hoopla is easy-to-use, simply go to our library website at and select e-resources or e-book (or download the app to your device from Google play) and log in and choose sign up now.


Search through the huge online database and click on the icon of the title you’d like and click “borrow.”


Your borrowed item will appear in “My Hoopla” and it remains there to watch, read or listen to for the loan period of the item, and then it returns itself to the library.


eBooks and audiobooks loan for 21 days, music/albums for 7 days, and movies/TV for 3 days.


You can borrow a total of 12 items per month.


We will be reviewing this service monthly and may increase the items allowed once we see the pattern of use under our contract.


Are you confused?  We have a pamphlet available at all our libraries explaining Hoopla, or call us and we will be glad to send you a copy.


While on the library’s web site, look at our other online databases: Flipster for magazines, Tumble Books for children’s books, Rosetta Stone for languages, and the Literature Resource Center for biographies and authors.


Available within our library buildings are, Westlaw legal resources, the Newspaper Archive, and various auto repair services.


In addition, the OPLIN online databases are available in the Ohio Web Library.


I you are still confused, our library system has classes for training in all of these databases, and some people prefer a personal instruction which we will be glad to accommodate.


It is a new world in your local public library; and as I often say --- your public library is here as it has been for 117 years, we simply have a lot of “new information tools” for you.


Yes, we still have books on our shelves, and we still have librarians who work at our libraries. 


For a librarian who began working in a library in 1970, this is all “bewildering” as contained in the definition of “hoopla.”


Technological development in the past generation has put information at our finger tips that never existed before.


On my first day in a public library, I remember looking at old 16 mm films and long-playing 33 rpm records (that were usually scratched) and a few filmstrips, not to mention photocopiers that sometimes caught fire and a telefax machine that took 6 minutes to receive a little sliver of paper.


Computers seemed far away, never to reach our public library.


Guess that is why no one asks me to predict the future.