Tag Archives: VHS

Veterans of the Format Wars

All that remains.

All that remains.

Once upon a time the Main library had over 3,000 movies* on VHS tape, but now we’re down to the last few stalwart survivors – less than fifty in all. Our remaining feature films on VHS (with one notable exception**) are movies that are no longer available on DVD, were never released on DVD, or are hard to find in any format. Here are a few highlights from this tiny collection, for your amusement.

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* For comparison, we now have over 9,000 movies on DVD – roughly 7,000 in English and 2,000 foreign films. That is amazing.

** The notable exception is a VHS copy of “Dial M for Murder.” Of course we have it on DVD, but this one brave tape has been checked out five hundred and eighty-nine times since 1993. It deserves a permanent home.

– Amy


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Top Ten Lies About the Film & Audio Department

It’s time to clear up a few misconceptions about our department.

 1. We don’t buy new movies.

Untrue! We purchase new movies months before they’re commercially released, just like book stores and department stores. Why, earlier this month we purchased 2012 (release date 03/02/10) and Pirate Radio (release date 04/13/10) and there are already hundreds of people waiting for them. That’s the real reason why you never see brand new movies on our shelves – they’re already checked out. 

2. We hide the good stuff from you. 

Robot Chicken

Now that's good stuff.

Nope. We want you to check things out. We really really do! Did you know that our funding is partially based on how many people use the library? Please, take our movies! Take five DVDs and five VHS tapes! And you can have ten CDs while you’re at it. Then add thirty books, and you’ll finally hit the fifty item limit


3. Sasquatch rearranges our shelves so nothing’s ever in order.

When the shelves are out of order, it’s usually because people like to leave things in odd places. So if you don’t want that documentary about whistling, please leave it on a book truck and we’ll reshelve it. It’s cool, we pay people to do this stuff. But we’d still rather you check things out (see #2). 

4. We swipe your requests when they come in so we can watch the new stuff first.

Did you know that most library employees suffer from an overdeveloped sense of justice? If your request isn’t here when you come to pick it up, it’s far more likely to be a computer error or human error than it is a library thief. We just don’t do that. We wait our turn, too. 

5. We only buy the things we like.

Angels & Demons


Of course we buy things we like, but we really want to make sure that there’s something for everyone. For instance, some of us can’t stand Tom Hanks, but a quick search of our catalog will pull up 30+ Tom Hanks films here in the Main library. If you find a hole in our collection or an underrepresented point of view, please let us know.

6. Everything we have is downloadable.

Oh, how we wish this were true. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to make everything available online, though we do have thousands of lovely downloadable audiobooks for you to choose from. 

7. You must be at least six feet tall to work in our department.

While most of our staff is tall and gangly, there is one librarian of average height. We would be delighted to hire shorter staffers, if only they were qualified and we had any openings. 

8. We only keep our VHS collection because we don’t want to spend more money on DVDs.

It's a Gift

We should buy this on DVD.

No way! We absolutely love DVDs. They take up less space on the shelves and they never get tangled up in VCRs. We keep our VHS collection because many old movies have not been released on DVD, and because some of our customers don’t own DVD players. And if you desperately need to watch that movie for school, a VHS copy is better than nothing, right? 


9. We only buy DVDs because we don’t want to spend more money on Blu-Ray discs.

Well, that’s partially true, because movies on Blu-Ray cost a lot more than movies on DVD. But the main reasons are a) DVDs are more durable (library DVDs take a lot of abuse) and b) most of our customers don’t own Blu-Ray players. For now, it makes more sense for us to stick to DVDs. 

10. Librarians think that books are more important than movies.

Untrue! For instance, the movie versions of War and Peace are just as much a part of our cultural record as the book (and they’re a lot handier for the student who has to write a book report this weekend).* And if you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather keep Cosmos than the complete works of Danielle Steel?** We sure would. 

And there you have it; mysteries of the Film & Audio Department revealed. 

*Note: The Film & Audio does not condone or support watching the movie instead of reading the book.

**Note: Yes, Danielle Steel is also a part of our cultural record.

– Amy


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Our Favorite Bad Covers

My Music, Film & Audio coworkers and I have rounded up the best of our worst DVD and VHS covers for your enjoyment. Some of them are old and out of date, some of them are new classics, some are just plain wrong, and some have a quirky charm all their own.

But wait, it gets better – you can (well, if you really want to) check out any of these delightful items and share them with your friends and family! Just jig (don’t jog) down to the Main library today, and we’ll show you where to look.

– Amy


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Library Trivia

We have a copy of Dial M for Murder on VHS that has been checked out 527 times since 1993!

Some tapes refuse to go quietly.


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