Re: video collection policies (fwd)

Video Librarian (
Mon, 18 Dec 1995 21:42:56 -0800 (PST)

Ok Ralph, I'll bite and do a preliminary wade on this one. The cheap (and
easy) answer is that only the first question is important (since it
encompasses all the others), but we've got a potential librarian in the
making here raising imaginary questions that she'll eventually have to
deal with in the real world.

The crux of the matter, for me, is that it's imperative we use as
close to the same guidelines as possible for selecting videos as we do
for selecting books. In other words, the library that didn't buy
Madonna's "Sex" (and I've yet to *hear* a good argument for not buying
any book that resided, however briefly, at the top of the N.Y. Times
bestseller list) seems to be on solid ground if they pass on "Showgirls."
Where it becomes more tricky--and I just did an editorial on this for the
next issue of "Video Librarian"--is with a film like "Kids."

"Kids" played a small circuit, effectively ensuring an adult audience in
the semi-controlled environment of the arthouse theatre. On video,
however, "Kids" will have a potential audience of...well...a lot of kids.
Should the library allow kids access to "Kids" by putting it in the
collection? After thinking about it, I realised that I could make a
really good argument either way. What that made me understand more than
anything is that we can formulate guidelines, but if easily reproducible
rules were all it took to do materials selection, than a page or
volunteer could do our job. Some things just need to be decided on a case
by case basis, and that's where librarianship comes in.

So, a partial answer...

Randy Pitman

Video Librarian
3672 NE Liverpool Dr
Bremerton WA 98311
(800) 692-2270

On Mon, 18 Dec 1995, Ralph Huntzinger wrote:

> You-all,
> I've been sitting on this message from (possibly) a library school
> student who subscribes to pubyac (the listserv for children and young
> adult library interests). Depending on how I feel, I want to give her a
> full answer, a non-reply, just put it off somemore, or delete it.
> Maybe you want to choose one of my four options -- or -- add "roast
> Huntzinger for passing it on" to the list.
> Part of me knows that she and the listserv readers deserve an answer
> from those of us who work with the formats; otherwise, the "myths" of J
> and YA specialists will color video, CD-ROM, internet access, and other
> electronic material issues. However, I keep hoping we have moved toward a
> unitified selection philosophy that includes printed materials along with
> all the electronic materials we handle, but maybe that's for another
> generation of specialists (generalists?). On the other hand, it could be
> that education is not keeping up with the field, as I saw at the "Beyond
> Video ..." institute in Texas this summer. I think I'll put it off
> somemore. Someone will may ease my conscience in the meantime.
> Ralph
> Ralph E. Huntzinger
> Media Services
> King County Library System voice: (206) 684-6673
> 300 8th Ave. N. fax: (206) 684-5590
> Seattle, WA 98109
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 23:40:33 -0500
> From: Laura E Brown <>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <>
> Subject: video collection policies
> Hello Fellow Yaccers!
> I would like any information you could give me on policies
> concerning video collections. What criteria must videos meet before you
> purchase them? How do you handle the different ratings? Do you purchase
> r-rated films? Why or why not? Must videos have literary value for you
> to purchase them, or can they be for purely entertainment purposes?
> I appreciate any information you can send my way!
> Laura Brown