Re: Public libraries and video collections (long)

sgilliam@GUILFORD.EDU
Fri, 10 Dec 1999 07:40:11 -0800 (PST)

Just to reiterate what may be an obvious point, there are differences
between the
missions of public libraries and school libraries, and these are reflected
in the collections.

For example, public libraries provide resources for people who can't
afford to purchase them, as well as
materials deemed to be of general interest.. Therefore there is a large
variety of popular materials that are not often found in academic
libraries. Including periodicals, how-to books, and pulp fiction.
At our college, we purchase video tape titles primarily at the behest
of faculty, who will normally be using
them in class or assigning their students to watch them or write papers
about them. We collect very few
general interest titles.
We do have a couple of expensive titles that we do not circulate, but
allow our students to watch them
in the building.
We sort of view the library as an extension of the classroom, and
also, because not all students have
vcrs in their rooms, we think of the individual carrells as private places.
I don't know whether the same policy could apply to a public library.
Someone posted a list of must- have videos. We certainly could not
afford all the California Newsreel Titles,
and I imagine most of us need to be more selective.
Most great feature films may be had at a very reasonable cost, so low
cost is not an indicator of low quality there.
Independent documentaries have an entirely different economy, and therefore
cost more, but that is also no guarantee of value or quality.
My own inclination, perhaps due to my academic professional
experience and budgetary climate, is to be selective. That, is to buy
only if we have an identified need or function to fulfill with the item.
There is a lot of junk out there....most of which is available at very low
cost (rentals, etc) in the commercial arena...and I hate to see libraries
purveying it. (But one person's junk is another's jewelry!)
Just some rambling, early morning thoughts.