Gif source: YouTube

Starting Friday, anyone with a New York Public Library or Brooklyn Public Library will be able to stream thousands of awesome movies, including the entire Criterion Collection. Why? Because libraries are awesome, that’s why.

Truth be told, New York is playing a bit of catch up, after Los Angeles offered its public library card holders streaming movie privileges last month. Both cities offer this great new perk through Kanopy, a streaming video service that works with public libraries and universities all over the country. Even if you don’t live in New York or LA, there’s a chance your local public library also offers this service. (Go to Kanopy’s website to see if you’re in luck.)

We’re not talking about free access to a bunch crappy movies you’ve never heard of. In addition to the Criterion Collection, you’ll find indie hits like 2 Days in Paris, classic masterpieces like Day of the Dead, and award-winning documentaries like I Am Not Your Negro. The New York Public Library deal does have some limitations, though. You can only stream 10 movies a month with a NYPL card and just six if you have a BPL card. It’s unclear if Brooklynites can double up and use both library cards to watch 16 movies a month. On the bright side, you can stream movies from Kanopy to any device.

You can apply online for a New York Public Library card here and a Brooklyn Public Library card here. Information about LA Public Library cards can be found here. And don’t forget: Not only do these library cards offer free movies, you can borrow books for free, too. Free knowledge!

[Gothamist]