Re: Feature films

HIRSCH Bonnie C (
Thu, 6 May 1999 08:46:48 -0700 (PDT)

We have a number of reasons for not buying feature films other than
classics. Some of them have to do with our extremely limited shelf space and
budget. We are at a point in our library where we need to remove one item
from the collection for every one we add, regardless of medium. Virtually
every circulating book in our collection has gone out at least once in the
past year, and most of the videos (and talking books) have been out within
the past couple of weeks. With that kind of heavy use wearing out the
collection, we are hard put to keep up with the cost of "nonfiction" video
Beyond those issues, however, our collection development policy
specifically states that we will select videos which present material which
would be presented less effectively in print. This means we have a large
how-to collection, music and drama performances, travelogs, and
documentaries. The children's librarians also select book-based videos, such
as the Reading Rainbow series. Unless a "feature film" is a classic, we
don't even accept and catalog donated videos.
Then there is the unwritten policy that we are not in competition
with the video rental stores. Since popular videos are available there quite
inexpensively, we give preference to videos which are less likely to be
Yes, there are good reasons for having a collection of feature films
as well. But when a library has limited space and resources, we have to make
some hard choices. Our choice in the case of videos is that we will fill in
the gaps to provide what is not otherwise readily available in the

Bonnie Hirsch
Eugene (Oregon) Public Library
From: Kristine R. Brancolini
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Feature films
Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 4:47PM

I don't think my comments will provide any ammunition for your plans! I'm
curious why you think LA County PL collects "too much" feature film on
video. What's your basis for that judgment? Is it that they don't
circulate? Is it that you are unable to buy more urgently needed
videorecordigs? Who makes the decisions concerning what your library
buys? I don't think you will find many public or academic libraries that
do NOT collect feature films on video. In my academic library they
fulfill a critical need to support film studies and many other
disciplines. Faculty in just about all disciplines that use both popular
more esoteric feature films for a variety of educational purposes. I
frankly find it inconceivable that a public library would NOT collect
feature films on video, unless their librarians have a bias against
certain forms of artistic expression, communication, and entertainment.
It's like asking if there are any libraries that do not buy fiction.

Kristine Brancolini
Indiana University Libraries

On Wed, 5 May 1999, Leslie Andersen wrote:

> Hi all - I'm interested in those libraries that do NOT collect feature
> video. Here at the County of Los Angeles Public Library, we collect
> feature film and IMO often too much. I know that many libraries do not
> collect it at all. How do you justify it? Do you have a written policy?
> How many complaints have you received? I'm looking to restrict the
> amount of feature film video we purchase here and am unabashedly
> looking for *ammunition*. Any comments on the issue are welcomed.
> Thanks very much -
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Leslie Andersen
> Non-Print Materials Evaluator
> County of Los Angeles Public Library