Fort Smith Public Library Now Offering Free Music

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Fort Smith Public Library cardholders can now do more than check out books. The library has partnered up with Freegal Music - a combination of the words "free" and "legal" - to offer its cardholders access to millions of free songs.

Diane Holwick, assistant director of the Fort Smith Public Library, said the library began offering this service in February. Users must have a library card in good standing with no over due balances.

Freegal Music has agreements with over 10,000 music labels, including those of Sony Music Entertainment. Library cardholders may download up to three free songs per week, and it can be done from the comfort of home.

"You don't have to come to the library to use Freegal," said Holwick. "You just have to have the library card and the number that's on the back. So you can do that from home."

Fort Smith resident Allison Carroll said her family has been taking advantage of the Freegal service.

"I have a three-year-old so I am downloading a lot of children's music," said Carroll. "We did 'Happy and You Know It' yesterday, and then there's a 'Cha Cha Slide' that we like to do in our house."

Carroll isn't just downloading songs for her sons though. She's a fan of Adele, Carrie Underwood and Justin Timberlake and was surprised to see how many of her favorite artists had songs available on Freegal.

"It's awesome," Carroll said. "They have the top ten on there. Yesterday it was like Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, everyone you would know."

Carroll said downloading from Freegal has been a great way to supplement her iTunes music library.

"It's just like couponing," Carroll said.

Holwick said the Freegal Music site may be accessed through a link on the library's homepage. Then, users will be asked to type in the number printed on the back of their library card.

There is no additional software to download, and there are no digital rights management restrictions. Downloaded songs don't expire and they may be transferred to an mp3 player or burned to a CD. The Freegal app is available for all Apple and Android devices.

The service is legal because while the songs are free to library cardholders, the library does pay an annual fee to have access to the database.

"The library is here to benefit the community," said Holwick. "The library is supported by the taxpayers in the community so we want to offer relevant and interesting things that they want."

The public libraries in Talihina, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville also offer free downloads through partnerships with Freegal Music.

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