Re: Public libraries and video collections (long)

Jessica (jesskino@redconnect.net)
Fri, 10 Dec 1999 09:19:28 -0800 (PST)

Ok I know this is going to sound self serving but isn't something besides
Hollywood crap and $500 tapes on East TImor?
What I have never understood about many public library collections is why
they are so filled with popular crap. What percentage of the book budget of
the library goes to Top Ten best sellers versus
say serious non-fiction and novels ? I can not imagine that most libraries
spend the bulk of their print budget on books by Turow and Sparks or diet
books. Yet somehow the video budget get spent mostly on Disney or the latest
blockbuster titles. I had always hoped the mission of public libraries would
be to make available titles that are NOT readily available at the local
Blockbuster store.
This would presumably include foreign films, classic films, documentaries
etc. I know that most people on this list DO try to collect these types of
films but most branch libraries I see, rarely have much of this and what
they do have is often poorly selected and junky (cheapie PD stuff).

I know we have been over this issue before but I have seen very little
change in the market.
I often get calls from people desperately looking for one of our foreign or
silent titles and since I know that outside of a major city it is not going
to be in a store for rental, I suggest the library. they almost never find
it there.

Since there is now so much outsourcing going on, I expect the situation of
"specialty" videos will only get worse in public library collections.

The ever cynical
Jessica Rosner
kino