RE: Public libraries, video collections, etc.

Tatar, Becky (
Fri, 10 Dec 1999 13:11:27 -0800 (PST)

This is in reply to Jessica, Chris and Elizabeth and their comments on PL AV

As far as charging to check out videos goes, we have gone round and round
with this. When we first started checking out videos, way back in the early
80s, we had popular feature films only. We checked them out for $2 per
title for 3 days. Fines were $2 per day. Over the years, we have changed a
little. The collection is more informational, ititles check out for 2
weeks, at $1 per title, with fines at $1 per day. I wish we could stop
charging for videos, but we take in about $15,000 per year, which goes into
the general fund, not a specific line item, which would probably easier to
justify. The board doesn't want to give up that chunk of money.

As far as collection content, our budget is $15,000. 10% is for feature
films. When we changed our policy, we decided that the video rental stores
did the current movies very well, but people couldn't always get old
classics, silents, mini-series, etc. What we decided to do is get award
winners, best lists, classic actors, etc. If someone wants the latest "Die
Hard", there are several rental stores in town. But they probably won't
carry ALL the Academy Award winning pictures for Picture, Director, Actor
and Actress. Or the titles in the National Film Registry. Or the Chicago
Tribune film critic's list of the best films of the century. Or classic
silent pictures. We do. And while I know that the Academy Awards are not
necessarily given to the best pictures, it is a standard. I also put aside
$700 for foreign films, for people like Jessica. And thank you to Randy
Pitman and Video Librarian and also Library Journal for reviewing them! The
rest of our budget goes for the same range of subjects in video that most
public libraries have in book form - pure sciences, technology, literature,
religion, social sciences, etc. Granted, the overall budget is large, but
each of these areas becomes small.

And for music buffs, same thing. There is no music too niche oriented that
we won't buy. We buy anything, either on review, or because of a lack in
the collection. And we have basically an unrestricted reserve policy - if
we don't have it, and you want it, we'll get it if it is available from
somewhere. As a small change in that, since we now ILL sound recordings and
videos, if we don't have something, we might get it on ILL instead of
purchase. We have a very eclectic sound recording collection. Since I
don't do the selection for it anymore, I can't say I recognize all the
groups Chris named, but some I do, and some we have.

Just wanted to let you know that we do try to be different than the local
book and video stores. I would think we overlap rather than duplicate. And
we do get requests for the latest big movie. We refer patrons to the local
rental stores. It's not always the best answer, but we do the best we can
with what we have.

Becky Tatar
Unit Head, Periodicals/Audiovisual
Aurora Public Library
1 E. Benton Street
Aurora, IL 60505
Phone: 630/264-4100
FAX: 630/896-3209