[Videolib] Tee Vee in Academia

Brewer, Michael (brewerm@u.library.arizona.edu)
Mon, 30 Aug 2004 07:43:08 -0700


Here at Arizona we are not "small" and yet we, too, try to first satisfy the
needs (often in the form of choices) by our faculty. We currently are
moving to a model in which we will measure our success in collection
development (in all areas), at least in part, around usage. While I have
some real problems with how we will do this in the humanities and some of
the social sciences (where critical works often do not begin to be used
heavily for many years, unlike in the sciences, and may then be used heavily
for decades), I think using this data, at least in part, is important if we
really want to be a customer-oriented library (in these difficult economic


Michael Brewer
German & Slavic Studies and Media Arts Librarian
University of Arizona Library, A210
1510 E. University
P.O. Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Fax 520.621.9733
Voice 520.307.2771

-----Original Message-----
From: Susan Albrecht [mailto:albrechs@wabash.edu]
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 7:04 AM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Tee Vee in Academia

Gary wrote:
>There's an interesting (and disturbing) set of trends and implications in
>this thread, I think.
>Institutions in which faculty do most or all of the media recommendation
>and selection (either by requesting reserve materials or by recommending
>additions to broader core collections) are probably stuck with that
>unfortunate model. I can't for the life of me see why some libraries
>allow faculty to take the upper hand in media selection, when they
>wouldn't even vaguely think about doing the same for books. Be that as it

Susan Albrecht here:
Gary, we've had this discussion before. :-) You say "...when they wouldn't
even vaguely think about doing the same for books." Well, you know
what? Some of us small liberal arts colleges do just that! I happen to be
the video *and* book acquisitions "department" (yep, ALL of it). We have a
student body of 900+ students and a faculty size of 80-something. Because
of our size (meaning, it's manageable here) and because we expect our profs
to know what they want/need, they do, indeed, select the books and video
materials they desire. We use CHOICE as the primary tool for book
selection, though they're free to request materials from pub ads or any
source they like. I'd guesstimate that our library staff accounts for
about 40% of what's ordered each year in the book collection and the
faculty the other 60%. In the video collection it's even more heavily
faculty-driven, with probably 80%+ purchased at faculty request. This is
done in large part because our budget isn't spectacularly large, and we
want to be sure we can obtain the things they NEED before we get
"wants." Wabash isn't a poor place (we have a hefty endowment and just
completed a $130 million capital campaign, which sounds like nothing to big
university types, but will probably resonate w/ other folks out there at
small liberal arts colleges), but the budget is a "reality" here as it is at

most places.

I realize that you may not be thinking of "us little guys" when you're
writing on this list, but there are some of us out here, alongside the
Berkeley's and Iowas and IUs and Marylands. I don't know--would it be
better if we had sublists or something? I think not, but....

Gary wrote:
Buying only those titles recommended by faculty or those needed for a
specific class neglects the fact that television has completely transformed
global culture and is going to continue being the focus of intense study
across disciplines for a long time to come. It may seem downright silly to
be collecting Buffy as serious grist for study--but, I assure you, it's
not. These programs MEAN something culturally.

Susan again:
It seems as if you are making the assumption that faculty aren't also aware
of or interested in this trend. Is that fair to assume? I mean, trained
media specialists know what's out there, it's true. But don't faculty also
know what's happening in their disciplines? Don't they also watch TV, view
documentaries, receive information on new films?

Susan at Wabash College

Susan Albrecht
Acquisitions Coordinator
Wabash College Lilly Library
Crawfordsville, IN

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."--Neil Peart

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