Purchasing Videotapes and DVDs

The library does not usually purchase videotapes and DVD's because such material are generally intended for classroom use or viewing as part of course assignments. Videotapes and DVD's to be used in that way-as teaching materials and instructional aids-are the financial responsibility of the academic departments.

On occasion when the library purchases videotapes or DVD's from its own materials budget, the decision to purchase such material on a given topic is made the by librarian with liaison responsibility to the appropriate department. Some rules of thumb guide the librarians in their decision:

  • Would the library normally purchase material on the subject?
  • Is the subject appropriate for the medium of the moving image? Or would a book on the subject be more appropriate?
  • Does the videotape or DVD cost near the amount that a book would cost on a similar treatment of the same subject?
  • Is the videotape or DVD more likely to be used as teaching material or an instructional aid or is the videotape more likely to be of interest to general library users seeking information on that subject?

Videotapes and DVD's which the library purchases from its own materials budget are not scheduled for users so that they are available at a given day or time for guaranteed use. The library has no automated or manual mechanism for scheduling materials for viewing or borrowing. In addition, if the library scheduled videotapes and DVD's, it would be supporting their public exhibition, which would, in most cases, violate copyright laws and videotape and DVD purchase agreements.

The library does have a small circulating collection of entertainment videotapes (e.g., feature films) that have been donated to the library. The library will accept additional donations of such videotapes, as well as DVD's, subject to review by the library for appropriateness and copyright compliance. These, too, are not scheduled.

The library will store and circulate videotapes and DVD's purchased by academic departments for use as teaching materials and instructional aids, but it will not schedule them unless a prior separate mutually signed agreement between the library and the department has been worked out. In those cases, insuring the usage agreement is in compliance with copyright law is the responsibility of the department purchasing the material.

Adopted at the Dec 14, 2001 Librarians Meeting