RE: [Videolib] lending video and film

Brewer, Michael (
Thu, 7 Apr 2005 08:20:27 -0700


I think it is critical that we figure out how to better allow for the borrowing of media from other institutions. I think most places that don't allow borrowing do so because they don't trust that the media will return undamaged.

Film is being used more and more in courses and in scholarship across disciplines. Films also often go out of print very quickly and are damaged/lost/stolen at an exponentially higher rate than other media (at least in our library). In this new access over ownership environment, film scholars (and those that use film) end up getting the short end of the stick: because we (I am speaking of our institution and others like it) focus on access and put less money into purchasing materials as we did in the past, if we were not lucky enough to purchase all the films that our faculty would need in the future at the time of their release (and that is never possible with the funds we are given) and even if none of those films were stolen, lost or damaged, our faculty do not have the same access to items (films) we don't own through ILL as our print oriented faculty have.

It seems that, were clear stipulations on use (or levels of use) defined for media loaned through ILL (perhaps some would loan only if the film were to be used in a class or would remain in the library, or even, forgive me public libraries, would only be loaned to academic libraries, etc.). Perhaps such gradations of use already exist. I don't know. Because ILL is a separate unit in our library, I have very little to do with what goes on there. I have, however, spoken with them about the issue of getting copies of videos that we owned but were lost, stolen or damaged and are not available for sale from other libraries (so we could make a legal copy) and was told that ILL departments often can make special loan agreements on a case by case basis for things like this (to borrow an out of print video from a library that usually doesn't loan videos in order to make a legal copy in house).

Does VRT make recommendations to national ILL groups? How much control do other media librarians have over whether or not their collections are loaned out through ILL? If you have had control over this and have not allowed your collection to be loaned out, why not? What are the issues/impediments? Are there horror stories of what has happened when titles were loaned out, even with strict limitations on their use?



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

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Bergman, Barbara J
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 4:11 PM
Subject: RE: [Videolib] lending video and film

Most of you have heard my pro-ILL soapbox speech before but...

We starting lending 3 years ago. It's been a very positive experience.
As we all know, video collections are expensive. No library can possibly own every video any more than it can have afford every book.

We lend videos with minimal restrictions. (The one unbreakable restriction is that it doesn't go out if there's an upcoming booking.)
We follow a reciprocal borrowing/lending policy in that we only borrow material types that they will lend and vice versa. This is fairly common for ILL (especially when it comes to charging a fee for lending). In translation: We only lend videos to requesting libraries who allow us access to their videos in exchange.
The first year, we compiled a list of all titles loaned and borrowed -- it was a fascinating mix of educational titles and feature films. We've consistently borrowed twice as many videos as we've lent each semester.
Re: older formats. We will lend 16mm films on a case-by-case basis. Most of the time when ILL staff replies with "Did you know this is a 16mm film?" the response is "never mind I thought it was a videotape..."

For policy, the VRT and ACRL have published guidelines that suggest video ILL  practices:

Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries (1999)

5.1 Media resources should be accessible through resource sharing, in accordance with the ALA Video Round Table Guidelines for the Interlibrary Loan of Audiovisual Formats.
Commentary: Many libraries treat media collections as special collections and prohibit their interlibrary loan. However, library users benefit when media collections are included in resource-sharing programs. No library can meet all of its users' needs for media resources, but libraries are reluctant to lend to our users if we do not lend to their users. The guidelines recognize that some materials may be excluded, but in general, there is no reason to exclude entire formats from interlibrary lending.

VRT Guidelines for the Interlibrary Loan of Audiovisual Formats (1997)


Barb Bergman
Media Services Librarian
Minnesota State University-Mankato
(507) 389-5945

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