Re: Libraries renting cassettes? -Reply

Ralph Huntzinger (
Thu, 1 May 1997 19:08:35 +0000

(Excuse me but I'm cleaning old burrs from the saddle, hoping
to keep identical ones of a different color from clinging or
transferring to the seat of whatever we will be riding into the
I just heard Randy Pitman do his literary excellence in a
wonderful speech while I blunder around in the topic -- "we never
cleaned up our acts with video and the same thinking may continue
with our profession's approach to the future of accessing moving
images and whatever evolves from that."

***** more warming breezes from an slightly elevated postion, that
you may want to skip and get on with ... ***

1) I would not make the assumption that most "professionals" who work
with libraries or work in libraries of various types make the
automatic distinction between rent and lend (except for the
specialists who read this listserv). Fees associated with ILL fall
into a grey area, especially when there is an operation connected
with the institution that charges a fee for the "same service" (i.e.
"service charge" for handling a request for video or film bookings
from a collection set up for that purpose when there is also a copy
of the video in the library collection.) The commercial or
cost-recovery model exists and many in the field cannot move toward
a cooperative or even a mixed use model.

2) There may still be one or two "major public library video
collections" that charge some kind of "insurance", "reserve fee",
"priority use fee", "handling fee because the funding came from a
special source", or what ever they call a "rental fee" -- most major
public libraries have moved away from that part of our recent
history. However, there are many smaller public library governing
bodies (city councils, etc.) that automatically think about the
video store model when they think about video collections. Staff
often is forced into a fee situation in these libraries -- some
"non-specialized" staff actually encourage it when they think about
how to support video.

3) No directly charge fees for services from public libraries (and
possibly other tax supported institutions) is a philosophical stance
-- however, it is possible to approach those services from a
different philosophy (privatization, cost-recovery, or whatever).
The common business practice concept allows for renting and/or
lending. The lending basis can be used as supporting arguments for
renting (right of first sale does not place restrictions on renting
unless a written abridgement occurs). I wish Ivan Bender was still
here to help us because this particular issue is basic copyrights but
is not "copying", "translating", "transmitting", "reformating", etc.;
it is moving the actual purchased copy (and possibly charging for
that service).

4) As we become better at analyzing and identifying costs in our
operations, the bean-counters with the bu$ine$$ backgrounds look to
recovering costs, that's often why we use their specialities. The
newer technologies are almost partly based on identifying who, when,
and how much use is made of resources. It is simple to apply costs
to those activities and then charge for them. I feel that part of
our professional responsibilities is to shape how those costs are
covered by our "clients" -- soon we will be able to provide on-line
access (and possible rapid down-loading) to moving images, it won't
be cheap, we may or may not go into that service based on that
expense, but we need to help shape the philosophical foundation of
providing that service from public libraries of the future.

'nough said at the moment --

Of course, I hear tell there are other opinions about the topic. (I
claim no knowledge of the inner thinkings of university and
educational operations. Our symbotic(sp?) friends who supply the
containers of knowledge often provide a well thought-out

Ralph Huntzinger (206) 684-6673
Collection Management Services
King County Library System
Seattle, Wa