Re: video title lists for patrons

R. Hertzler (
Thu, 29 Nov 2001 13:31:51 -0800 (PST)

Welllllll, *I'd* like to share! Warning: this is long and not for the
faint of heart.

I inherited a Media Center with closed stacks, paper (and Web-based) lists
of all our feature films--with call numbers--and *all* our videos and CD's
(and now DVDs) listed in the library's OPAC. Since I came in, we've
increased our holdings dramatically, which of course has meant updating
the list more frequently and printing out longer and longer lists.
Currently, in a font that's barely big enough to read, the thing prints
out to be 40 pages long--and that's just feature films on video and DVDs.
In short, maintaining a paper copy has become unwieldy and
resource-intensive, both in terms of staff time and destruction of trees
(which we try to take seriously here in the Northwest).

Our patrons LOVE it!!! It lets them "browse" the collection and pick out
a list of films they'd like to see, and the call number is right there so
our student operators can easily retrieve items for checkout. Beautiful
system, right? Wrong!

Of course, the print list is useless for indicating whether or not an item
is actually checked in. Those who want to "browse" the lists are
typically looking for something to watch recreationally, usually close to
closing time, and especially on Friday afternoons. Our beleaguered staff
must run back to the shelves, work their way down the wish list, and try
to find something that's checked in; the alternative is to look them up
one at a time on the OPAC, which--depending on the individual's searching
prowess--may take longer than just running back and checking the shelves.
Meanwhile, students needing access to course reserves and class-related
materials impatiently wait in line . . .

I think you get the picture. As an academic library media center, our
highest priority is supporting teaching, study and research with our
materials. However, as a library, a happy secondary outcome is that
materials not in use for one of the former are available for "personal
interest." From what I can tell, maintaining the lists supports the
latter use almost exclusively, and of late has begun to interfere with our
ability to provide materials and services for the former at optimal level.

We're planning to review proceedures over the next couple of months and
make some big changes on a number of fronts: signage, flow control,
mandating that patrons look up status of items on the OPAC--and, most
likely, ELIMINATION OF THE LISTS. Of course, there will be absolute HELL
to pay from our patrons, so this is all going to have to be very carefully
thought out.

That's my two cents--sorry for the lengthy rant. BTW, if you'd like to
see our lists, go to our Web site at
and click on the "Feature Films" and "What's New" lists. Good luck; I'd
love to hear how you--and anyone else, for that matter--tackle the

Randy Hertzler
Reference & Instructional Librarian
Media Services Coordinator
UW Libraries Media Center
Odegaard Undergraduate Library
University of Washington, Seattle

On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, Diane Sybeldon wrote:

> Hello vidlibbers:
> I'm looking for advice from academic media librarians.
> Do you make (paper) video title lists available for patrons?
> Ours is an OPEN COLLECTION and so it is probably not
> necessary to provide such a resource, but....
> In the past we have had them available for browsing.
> We've had video, laser disc and dvd lists.
> The video list breaks down by feature and non-feature only,
> otherwise it is a simple alphabetical title list.
> I'd like to keep them, but the time required to update
> is a problem.
> Any feedback will be appreciated.
> Diane
> ***********************************
> Diane Sybeldon
> Instruction/Media Librarian
> David Adamany Undergraduate Library
> Wayne State University
> Detroit, Michigan 48202
> (313) 577-4480 (voice)
> (313) 577-5265 (fax)
> (email)
> ************************************