Re: [Videolib] Warner Brothers Entertainment vs Institutions?

Mike Boedicker (
Sat, 27 Aug 2005 14:15:28 -0500


You write:
>I would much prefer the library have the Stephen King novels than the
>Stephen King movies. At least reading is a gateway activity to becoming
>educated. I'd prefer to see the Harry Potter books in libraries but not
>the movies...

Why the double standard? What makes books inherently superior to video?
It's the content that matters, not the form. Who is learning more, the
reader of a Harlequin romance novel or the viewer of a NOVA episode?
Unfortunately, the emphasis of most libraries continues to be print literacy
rather than all-encompassing media literacy. Media librarians have been
fighting the print bias for years, but we rarely have to make our case to
video producers...

Have you ever worked in a public library? As laudable as your goals are,
the reality is that library users want entertainment media. I don't believe
that is ALL we should provide them, but I do believe we should provide the
BEST titles within the entertainment category. If I were to eliminate all
entertainment programs from the collection, I'd see circulation plummet and
my board asking "what's happening?" In my library, nonfiction videos/DVDs
comprise 50% of the video collection but account for less than 25% of video
circulation -- this despite CONSTANT promotion and marketing of the NF
collection (and it's a good & varied collection) and a longer loan period.
I've learned the hard way that you can't dictate people's tastes and
preferences. About the best you can do is work to determine your user's
needs and exercise your best judgment to meet those needs.


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

>Some statistics from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
>median net worth for Hispanic households is $7,932
>median net worth for blacks $5,998
>median net worth for whites $88,651
>If any public librarian can read those statistics and not think their
>funds should be spent more on trying to educate blacks and hispanics and
>less on entertaining whites, then public libraries should be shut down.
>A poor person's need for education far, far outweighs some middle class
>person's need for cheap or free entertainment.
>The government subsidizes the local symphony but not the local boy band
>for a reason.
>The government subsidizes PBS but not the WB Network for a reason.
>The government subsidizes libraries but not Blockbuster video for a reason.
>The government doesn't have to subsidize popular entertainment because
>popular entertainment is by definition readily available to the masses.
>In fact, it takes effort to avoid it. (Somehow I know the words to quite
>a few pop songs for which I don't even own the CD. I know the plots to
>dozens of Hollwood movies I've never seen. I know every plot twist in tv
>shows such as Friends that I've never seen a single episode of. Why?
>Because the culture around me is saturated with popular culture.)
>When I can go into a library and find a copy of Jaws but not find a
>documentary on Great Whites, there's a serious problem. When I can find
>Citizen Kane but not a documentary on his life and career or even a
>biography about the man, there's a serious problem.
>I would much prefer the library have the Stephen King novels than the
>Stephen King movies. At least reading is a gateway activity to becoming
>educated. I'd prefer to see the Harry Potter books in libraries but not
>the movies. I'd prefer they, instead, bought an educational CD-ROM on
>Alchemy which they would recommend to the kid who turns in the book.
>Alchemy is the origins of modern chemistry. Maybe the kid would get
>interested in science. If you want to use Harry Potter books to hook the
>kid to get him through the library doors, great. Sounds like a clever
>idea. But to then waste that opportunity by sending him to the Harry
>Potter DVD or Lord of the Rings DVD seems unfortunate.
>Another startling statisitic:
>There are more and more foreign students in our graduate programs and
>less and less American students and the deficit is growing at an
>astonishing rate. Do those foreign kids have libraries that supply them
>with the latest hollywood that why they're so interested
>in education? Do their undgrad programs use chase scenes and car crashes
>in hollywood movies to entice them to learn physics and that's why
>they're the top students in our university physics programs????
>We put coke machines and candy machines in middle schools and then we're
>surprised at the childhood obesity rates going up. We turn libraries
>(and now college classrooms) into government subsidized Blockbuster
>Videos and we're surprised that American kids are more interested in
>being Brad Pitt than Thomas Edison.
>Research studies have shown that, if given the choice between cocaine
>and food, a mouse will starve to death because it will always choose
>cocaine. Hollywood movies are cocaine. Books and other educational
>materials are food.
>If you can figure out a clever way to use a hollywood movie to redirect
>the person who checked it out to an educational product later, perfect.
>That's why you have a college degree: to figure these things out. But if
>you can't then that movie shouldn't be in your collection.
>As always....just my opinion.
>Gary C. Daniels

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