Re: Libraries renting cassettes?

Ralph Huntzinger (ralphunt@kcls.org)
Wed, 30 Apr 1997 18:31:30 +0000

Am I getting to this late, have we already discussed this recently?
***Long-winded comment on the soapbox that has paid for most of my
working in public libraries, so you may want to go on with your life
without it. ***

Stephen,

(since the topic has been brought up) will you be in San Franciso so
I can buy you several drinks and see where a lubricated dissusion can
illuminate differences and commonalities? My director is seeing a
near future with "streaming video" to our dial-in users; that's
stretching this topic beyond its present limit$. But that stop may
be on the trip that this rocket to the 21st century is taking.

The present topic is lending and/or "renting" materials to users:

The right of first sale, common business practices, and a liberal
use of the copyright statutes has resulted in libraries continguing
to do as we have always done -- lend materials to people.

Reality check (and concerned professional practice, IMHO) is that we
have the right to lend purchased materials to anyone, UNLESS we have
signed an agreement that removes or restricts that right. Many
public libraries (and educators can speak up and say their thing)
have signed some agreements for some materials which restrict their
rights to lend, but these instances are in the minority, in public
libraries. For example, KCLS has an agreement that we can use and
let our public use the excellant training videos from Video Arts in
our libraries BUT we will not lend them. (Our meeting rooms are
considered "in our libraries"; groups can view those videos in our
meeting rooms.) We paid through the nose to get that agreement,
including several lawyer$ clarifying the transaction. We lease some
directories and therefore do not lend them; and we lease access to
data services but usually make some arrangement$ so the specific
information can be downloaded and/or printed when someone dials into
our systems. (We have specialized training materials for staff that
our training office has signed restrictive agreements, but that's a
different issue.)

The business of public libraries is lending materials to the public.
KCLS basically does not purchase if we can not lend. If you sell to
public libraries, you are in the business of selling to an
institution so that institution can lend to someone; if you are not
in that part of the business, you don't sell to public libraries.

Renting may be another issue; but the same common business practice
theory may apply -- modern public libraries usually do not charge for
materials but when they have, they apply right of first sale, common
business practice, and liberal copyright stance UNLESS they have
signed an agreement that ... University, other educational
institutions, museums, etc. will answer with their practices and
foundations of thought. They most often operate with recovery of
costs as a common part of their practice.

Inter Library Loan (ILL) is a common business practice among/between
libraries; this is the lending of materials outside the boundries of
the institution. Video Roundtable members have been extremely
active in working on wording, procedures, supportive arguments, etc.
to advance this practice to include all materials that libraries
lend to their "public/clients/constitutents(sp?)/etc.". KCLS has
ILLed videos from almost the beginning of our collections using the
criteria we use for lending to our "own public" (if we lend to our
public, we will ILL; using the same restrictions, agreements, etc.).
Many universities have informally lent materials to other
university users through knowing the right people and the proper
channels to assure that the materials will be returned, any special
restrictions are followed, and the primary clientelle will get
priority use. Formalizing this practice is the intent of the
present ILL workings.

Libraries are in the business of making information/knowledge
available to individuals -- the location of those individuals is no
longer limited by narrow geographical thinking.

I hope that gust of hot air from the West helps clarify part of a
viewpoint and the practice that logically has followed that vision.
It's clear to me and (like some other media folks) I've always been
half blind, and getting dimmer as the century fades. Of course, I
have heard tell of some differing opinions on this topic; but that
was in the dim past and came from "barbarians from the East".
Ralph Huntzinger (206) 684-6673
Collection Management Services
King County Library System
Seattle, Wa
ralphunt@kcls.org