What you can learn from the TPL’s new Hoopla streaming service (Hint: A LOT!)

You know what they say – having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card! Here in Toronto, our library cards are unlocking so much more than traditional books lately. 3D printers and filmmaking equipment are recent additions to the collection, and just yesterday, the TPL introduced Hoopla, a movie and music streaming service.

TPL cardholders can access an archive of more than 10,000 films and 250,000 albums, and families will be delighted by a wide selection of animated and feature film favourites like Babe and Billy Elliott and educational videos, from language learning to beginner’s yoga.

But what struck us at Story Planet is an extensive selection of documentaries – for all ages! We’ve done a bit of the legwork and picked out five favourites to help you get started, but we’d love to know which docs you’d recommend for our Story Planet students and staff.

1. Dear. Mr. Watterson (2013) – An inside look at the creation of Calvin & Hobbes, the “best comic strip in the history of the universe.” (That’s the documentary talking, not us…necessarily.) 

2. The Sci-Fi Boys (2006) – Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ray Bradubry…the list goes on! This doc peeks behind the fourth wall of special effects to reveal how it’s done and who’s doing it.

3. Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story (2011) – Have you played Monopoloy? Have your parents played Monopoly? Have your parents’ parents played Monopoly? Probably. Find out why! 

4. Kings of Pastry (2010) – It’s probably a good idea to stock up on sweets before settling in with these pastry greats. But if you have an aspiring chef in your family, this doc is a visual feast that will surely inspire (and probably make you hungry.) 

5. Afghan Star (2009) – Pop culture is returning to Afghanistan after years of unrest, but it’s still dangerous to be a performer. Afghan Star is Tolo TV’s American Idol-style singing competition and this doc follows the four young finalists who risk everything to become their country’s next music icon.