Re: Video Ratings

Victoria Caplan (
Mon, 10 Apr 2000 17:48:40 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 10 Apr 2000, Jan Derks wrote:

> Am pulling together ratings info to answer patrons' questions on why all
> videos aren't rated. Have gathered info from Jim Scholtz's books Video
> Policies... and Developing and Maintaining Video... and from Sally
> Mason-Robinson's book Developing and Managing... . I understand the
> history of ratings pre-and post MPAA. I've read a 9/20/99 U.S. News
> article on ratings and I have both the New York Times Guide to the Best
> Children's Videos and Parent' Guide to the Best Family Videos. Is other
> info out there that would help defuse patron concern about the content
> of videos they check out? We include MPAA ratings in our catalog, if
> ratings are shown on the video case. We also have a selection policy
> that provides guidelines. It's the videos that don't list a rating that
> patrons want rated. Some patrons want to know for sure that the video
> they pull off the shelf will be "safe" for their kids but there's no one
> way that public libraries can or should provide "safety" guarantees to
> subjective concerns. Comments? Jan
> --
> Jan Derks
> AV Collection Development Librarian
> Arapahoe Library District
> Littleton,CO 80121
> Phone: 303-220-7704 x239
> Fax: 303-740-8283
> E-mail:
I would say that if the video isn't rated, then you can offer the
patrons help to look up a description of the video in a video book. I
agree that there is no way a library or librarian can guarantee the saftey
of a video. I have young kids who who got very concerned over the Rat
King's death in the Nutcracker Ballet. Some kids might be distrubed by
things like Nationa; Geographic specials about lions...who knows?

I would recommend that the patrons be told that they can be given
tools to help decide - but only they truly know their children and only
parental previewing can make sure that a video is "safe" for their
particular child.

- Victoria Caplan
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library
Media Resources & Microforms