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Reference, Instruction, and Outreach (RIO)

Meeting Overview

It’s getting hard for information professionals to keep track of all the streaming services that are available!  Well-established platforms like Netflix, recent startups like Peacock, and even failures like Quibi all have ever-changing content. For this RIO meeting we discussed how the increase in streaming services have affected libraries including the circulation of traditional media like DVDs and CDs and the future of those collections, subscription streaming databases for libraries and their costs, streaming access and education, and the need for strong Internet access.

Much discussion was done about the effects streaming has had on circulation, not just for the streaming services, but for the physical items they are replacing such as DVD's and CD's. This was found to be different for not just academic libraries vs. public libraries, but economic and social majorities for a library's patrons had a great influence on whether the majority of their patrons were switching to streaming or not. Libraries serving poorer communities have seen less of a switch to streaming, and the same for those in areas with poorer internet broadband access.

The effect of streaming appears for many libraries to be having more of an effect on CD demand over that of DVD's. Music streaming services appear to be cheaper and have larger collections than those for video, which are more fragmented. There was discussion on the group's anticipation of mergers of the video services in the future.

Some of the services being used by our area's libraries include Hoopla, RB Digital, Swank, and Flipster (for magazines). It was also discussed that the cost for maintaining some of these services is unsustainable for some libraries. There was also debate on whether the service providers will drop their costs to make them more accessible to libraries.

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