Residents who have a library card and a computer, tablet or smartphone could be watching free films anywhere, anytime.
The South Fayette library has become the second one in Allegheny County to offer its patrons IndieFlix for Libraries, an online service that allows live streaming of thousands of independent films, shorts, foreign-language movies and documentaries.
Township residents with valid library cards are invited to watch films at no charge via the "Visit IndieFlix" link on the library's website, www.southfayettelibrary.org.
Library director Rebecca Fetzner Long said the $500 annual cost of the digital media service is worthwhile to offer patrons more choices without taking up shelf space.
"Given space limitations, we're really searching for ways to connect to our community in different ways," Ms. Long said.
Mt. Lebanon Public Library in Allegheny County and Peters Township Public Library in Washington County also offer the movie service to their patrons.
Films are available through a partnership with RBdigital -- an arm of audiobook producer Recorded Books -- and IndieFlix, a video service similar to Hulu and Netflix.
IndieFlix curates and streams content originating from more than 2,000 worldwide film festivals, including Sundance, Cannes and Tribeca. Individual subscriptions at IndieFlix.com normally cost $6.99 a month.
To use IndieFlix, South Fayette patrons must enter account information, including a library card number, email address and password.
The site offers "channels" that group content by a particular film festival and by genre, from animation to zombies. Also, users can search for specific names and titles and sort by country, genre, length and intended audience age.
Ms. Long said the content is not rated, so users should be at least 18 years old or have parental permission to view it.
Library patrons can view video on demand using library computers and headphones, or with their own Internet-enabled devices such as a desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android phone, Roku box for televisions and certain gaming consoles.
Unlike traditional library materials or even e-books, the films are not checked out, returned, subject to late fees or available for limited times --"a reverse" of the way that libraries usually operate, Ms. Long said.
She said the library, 515 Millers Run Road, serves a growing municipal population of nearly 15,000, but it has a limited budget and only 1,900 square feet of space -- not much room to expand and diversify its movie selection beyond popular American movie blockbusters.
"This [film service] allows us to increase our collection by offering some things you normally wouldn't find on our shelves," Ms. Long said. "We hope it's successful and people will enjoy using it."
Information and assistance: 412-257-8660.
Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: email@example.com.