Re: video collection policies (fwd)

Tony Neal (
Tue, 19 Dec 1995 10:04:00 -0800 (PST)

Well, guys, you hit a nerve on this subject. Here at KRL (Randy's old
alma mater) collection development staff have been in somewhat of a
quandry since I purchased the "Better Sex" video series for the
collection. I had advised staff prior to purchase, but the ensuing chaos
that resulted when the videos arrived and they realized that this is
Sexually Explicit stuff! made all of us try to rethink selection
decisions. Randy says that "it's imperative we use as close to the same
guidelines as possible for selecting videos as we do for selecting books"
and to decide "on a case by case basis." In practice, that would allow
me to buy the "Better Sex" videos as long as we also purchased books like
"The Joy of Sex," which we have. The reality is that I don't want a nine
year old to have access to "Better Sex, or even "Kids," which flies in
the face of ALA policies, our own policies, and my personal philosophies
about open access to minors. I have concluded that these policies were
great for 1985, but they simply don't work for 1995. We didn't have
sexually explicit "therapy-type" videos then, nor audios of "Herotica" or
"Erotic Fables," not to mention the sexually explicit lyrics of some
popular rap music. While we are still wrestling with this problem, I
have sorrowfully come to the conclusion that the "Family Friendly
Libraries" group, and (gulp!) some of the other right-wing wackos have a
point when they push for areas in the library to be off limits for
children. I hate the idea of having what I purchase be acceptable to
nine year olds, because that's not the real world, and not our job to
self-censor ourselves to the point where nothing in our collection upsets
anyone. In a word, I'm very frustrated with this issue, but we'll
continue to try and find a way to serve the needs of *all* our patrons.
P.S., we pulled the "Better Sex" videos out of the collection. 8>(

On Mon, 18 Dec 1995, Video Librarian wrote:

> 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
> Editor
> 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
> >
> >
> >
> >

Tony Neal
Media Librarian
1301 Sylvan Way
Bremerton, Wa 98310
voice 360-405-9101
fax 360-405-9128

Opinions expressed are my own.