Re: low circ of nonfiction videos in public libraries?

Jonathan Miller (
Fri, 22 Feb 2002 06:55:35 -0800 (PST)

Dear Karen - and anyone else - please jump in -

Which companies have the best packaging (in that their packaging helps
boost circulation more then others), and why?

I'm curious, and perhaps we can copy what they do...

Jonathan Miller

At 06:17 PM 2/21/02 -0800, you wrote:
> We have weeded over 75% of our MacArthur collection over the past few
>years, also because of low circulation. For a few titles that were either
>very important and/or still being used some, and were available in more
>episodes per tape (i.e. 9 episodes on 5 videos vs. 9 episodes on 9 videos) we
>actually purchased replacements to save shelf space. These videos with new
>spiffy covers are circulating much better than the old MacArthur ones.
> I think part of the problem with the MacArthur collection is the generic
>packaging. Patrons have seen them around for years and they are not
>eyecatching. No matter what the topic they all look the same. We have open
>shelves and we have found that packaging is very important. Attractive cover
>art definitely stimulates interest. One of our staff members just did her
>MLS research paper on this--the same videos with full sleeve colorful cover
>art went out 2-3 times more often than videos with partial cover art or
>monochromatic covers.
> Our informational/educational video circulation increased again last year
>by a slight amount, as did the entertainment video. Our overall
>entertainment video circulation is much higher than the info/ed but the
>entertaiment videos outnumber the info/ed at least 3 to 1. (Fiction book
>circulation is also higher than nonfiction book circulation.)
> To promote the inof/ed videos I have a large display unit in the lobby by
>the adult services (book) department. I put up a new display every month or
>two. We have featured topics such as travel, biographies, PBS programs,
>health, etc. I have had patrons who never set foot in our department find
>these videos and then they have come to the AV department to ask if we have
>more, or ask what happened to the videos that were in the lobby when we
>change the display. They tell me "I didn't know you had this kind of video."
> Our non-fiction videos are shelved in Dewey call # order, the entertainment
>in alphabetical sections. Most of the videos in the areas mentioned by Paul
>Duckworth in his reply do well for us, but videos on animals (wild and
>domesticated), gardening, computer instruction, biographies, home repair and
>maintenance are a few of the areas that also do very well. In our library
>plays (except non feature film Shakespeare) and foreign films are classified
>as entertainment.
> Promotion of much of the info/ed videos and some of the videos classified
>in Entertainment such as "Reading Rainbow" videos is a constant struggle.
>Karen Fischer
>AV Librarian
>Mansfield/Richland County Public Library
>Mansfield, OH

Jonathan Miller, President
First Run / Icarus Films, Inc.
32 Court Street, 21st Floor
Brooklyn, NY. 11201 USA

Tel: 1.718.488.8900
Fax: 1.718.488.8642
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