RE: Silent films and public libraries

Milos Stehlik (
Fri, 7 Jun 2002 14:17:23 -0700 (PDT)

Mike --


Those "negative" patron comments only prove that you are doing a terrific
job. It all comes down to education, and education is dependent on access,
and it takes a long time. Without you,
they'd be condemned to the commercial movie formula exclusively. You've
given them a choice.

Milos Stehlik

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Mike Boedicker
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2002 3:54 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Silent films and public libraries

I've been following this thread with interest. These collection development
discussions crop up frequently on the list and it seems that the blame for
homogenous collections is usually placed on librarians for not buying
alternative material rather than on patrons for being unwilling to borrow
such material when it's offered. What's a librarian with limited space &
budget supposed to do when he offers excellent silents, foreign,
alternative, independent, lots of nonfiction, etc, and markets the hell out
of this great stuff yet patrons still want "Freddy Got Fingered?" And
furthermore, the worst stuff circulates the most? The problem, at least in
my library, is that no matter how many times I diplomatically tell people
we're not Blockbuster, put up FAQ's explaining our collection development
policy ("to complement, rather than compete with, local video stores by
offering a different collection focus"), etc, I still get frequent
complaints about "not enough new movies." 2001 was such an awful year for
mainstream American cinema that I had a hard time, even loosening the
standards, to find enough new features that were worth adding.

It all goes back to the "give 'em what they want" vs. "give 'em what (you
think) they need," and it's not always easy to find a good balance. I
realize there aren't any simple answers to this, I'm just venting!


Mike Boedicker
Audiovisual Director & Webmaster
Danville Public Library
319 N. Vermilion, Danville, IL 61832
(217) 477-5223 ext. 123 / Fax: (217) 477-5230

Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: