Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Short But Sweet

In one of my first posts, Poor Man's Netflix, I describe my love for checking out DVD's from my local library.

Today, I found an article describing how the OCLC just published a study stating that Americans get more DVDs from Public Libraries compared to Netflix, Redbox or Blockbuster. Reading the study makes me feel all warm inside.

Today, I checked out 2 DVDs - David Lynch's Dune (I feel that today's librarians are the equivalent of Frank Herbert's Mentats) and United States of Tara (Diablo Cody, Stephen Spielberg and Toni Collette? I have high expectations).

Why spend money when you can get it for free? Seriously, why?


  1. United States of Tara is amazing - can't wait to discuss it with you!

  2. I'm a librarian and check out DVDs from my library so I'm playing devil's advocate here but...

    Netflix is way better than libraries. In most libraries the movies are bought by librarians who don't know a whole lot about classic movies or foreign movies. The collection ends up being a lot of popular drek. The only good stuff is in the children's section, but how many cartoons can one person watch? That said, even when I do want a popular movie, it's never available. I have to get in line behind 300 other people who want the movie and end up waiting months before it comes in. And when it does come in, it's so scratched that it's unplayable!

    With Netflix, on the other hand, for seven or eight dollars a month I can have pretty much any movie or television series that's out in my mailbox in two days. I can keep it for as long as I want and it never arrives unplayable. In the meantime, I can stream a ton of excellent movies straight to my large screen monitor. The library is okay for other things, but for movies, Netflix reigns supreme.

  3. Thanks for the insightful comments, Oleg!

    I think the issue of a libraries DVD selection has a lot to do with individual library systems. For example - my local library has an amazing selection of DVDs, there was only one time a DVD I wanted us unavailable - and that was because it was on order. Granted it's a larger urban library system, and I am sure that smaller libraries with smaller budgets will not have as large a selection. However, if DVDs continue to have high circulation rates, I'm sure libraries will invest more into their collection.

    I agree that sometimes it can be annoying to have to wait a four or five months to receive a DVD I put a hold on, but that's what you get for a free service. Plus by the time I get that hold, I've often forgotten that I requested it - so it's like a little surprise when I go a pick it up.

    I also think you're right that Netflix is more convenient, but there is a large population of America who may not be able to afford that seven dollars a month, or may not own a computer or have a home internet connection to stream movies on.

    For example - I live in a communal housing situation where the house has come to a consensus not to pay for an internet connection. I could pay a few bucks a month to get the DVDs in my mailbox, but as a student I'd rather save that money. Down the road I'm sure I'll invest in Netflix - but for the time being libraries work for me!

  4. @Sweet Ronit: I've been hearing such good things about the show that I think it will be worth the wait I went through to get it!

  5. So I have a question. Do libraries have buyers for each section if they're big enough? I imagine it depends on the size, so I guess I'm curious how my hometown library system stocked its very small branches when I was growing up. And yeah, I guess a branch is usually part of a city system. Hmmm.