I have had a great love for movies that was nurtured from years spent in darkened movie theaters throughout the 1950s and 1960s as a youth. This long held interest in movies fit perfectly when I first started at the library back in 1977, as I was able to select visual media for the library’s circulating collection.
Back then the library belonged to a statewide 16mm film loan service that provided educational and instructional films and lasted from 1957 until 1988. At its peak in 1985, the library’s permanent 16mm film collection included nearly 500 films. These films were owned jointly with the Indianhead Federated Library System and were available to all system libraries.
The first videocassettes were added to the collection in October 1981. Both VHS and Beta format were available for a brief period before VHS gained prominence. This library was the first place to offer videos to borrow when there were no “video stores” in the city or area. The first DVDs were circulated in 2000 and quickly became some of the library’s most popular items.
From the beginning, the criteria for the video and then the DVD collection was to provide visual materials “that aided customers in the pursuit of information, recreation, cultural awareness and in the creative use of leisure time as well as provide a collection of feature films that reflects a broad range of time periods and film types while continually keeping in mind, not only the quality, but the popularity of the titles chosen.”
Over time, the library’s large collection of both non-fiction and fiction videos and then DVDs gained a great deal of breadth and depth and continues to be very popular with library customers. Some unique parts of the collection that customers can not as easily find elsewhere are diverse offerings of foreign films, well-reviewed documentaries, special editions of feature films like those in the Criterion Collection, and a now expansive collection of TV series. The DVD collection provides an easy way to watch or re-watch the best films by a particular actor or actress or in a specific genre or in a series like James Bond movies or the Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings films.
What have you’ve enjoyed watching lately?