Re: Video collection development

Kristine R. Brancolini (
Wed, 10 Apr 2002 09:12:55 -0700 (PDT)

Kim: I'm not from a public library, but I wanted to compliment you your
approach. As a member of the VRT Notable Videos Committee for four years,
I assure you that we are sensitive to the issue of cost, but decided that
it should not be a factor in selection. We're focusing upon quality, and
some of the best titles are not home video and not $29.95. But many of
our selections have been surprisingly inexpensive. We've noticed that
more documentaries are being picked up for home distribution and this
really helps.

I'm sure the public librarians on the list will weigh in with their
suggestions about how to deal with the cost issue, but I urge you to set
aside some money for truly exceptional titles that are more expensive.
It's the only way to assure that your users have access to the best in
video programing. And, as you point out, they won't be at your local
video store. You're the only game in town for these programs.

In academic libraries we face the same problem of expensive tapes that are
eaten by players, but it really doesn't happen all that often. We can
usually replace titles for a drastically reduced price. University of
California Extension, for example, will replace any title for $50
(correct me if I'm wrong, Dan). So don't let that deter you. -- Kris

On Tue, 9 Apr 2002, Kim Crowley wrote:

> I have just taken over the coordination of non-print media Collection
> Development for our Library and the selection of videos (both VHS and DVD)
> for the adult and young adult collections. Having done little collection
> development in the past, I have a huge learning curve to overcome. But
> it's been quite fun!
> I am wondering what other mid-sized public libraries do about selecting
> films. Do you have a specific policy that dictates what you buy? Do you
> have a specific dollar amount over which you will not go? I have been
> lurking on this list and looking at lots of great sources for videos. The
> ALA Video Roundtable Notable Videos for Adults has proven a great list.
> But some of the films are very expensive and the person before me had an
> artificial cap of about $29.99 for any film! (I'm probably exaggerating
> a bit.)
> If you buy a film for $295 and it gets damaged in a home video machine,
> what do you do? Do you buy a certain number of these more costly films
> each year? Our philosophy is to buy "award winning" films and not get
> into multiple copies of popular titles that could be found at the local
> video stores. I would like our collection to have copies of the more
> expensive films that can't be found at the local video store, but our
> collection development team is not sure I should spend the funds in that
> way.
> Any insight you can send my way would be most appreciated. Thanks!
> kc
> Kim Crowley, Technology Coordinator
> City of Fort Collins Public Library
> 201 Peterson Street phone: 970.221.6662
> Fort Collins, CO 80524 fax: 970.221.6398

Kristine R. Brancolini, Director, Digital Library Program
Main Library E170, 1320 E. Tenth Street
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: 812.855.3710 | Fax: 812.856.2062 | Web: