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Library Video Circulation Policies

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

If your library will be circulating videos or DVDs you need to plan an appropriate policy.

Many types of libraries purchase videos and DVDs. Some are for the use of all patrons. Some libraries reserve audio-visual materials for faculty use only. Still others allow use of the materials in the library only. Planning your AV policy will make your life easier, and your patrons will know what to expect.

If you opt to allow patrons to view AV materials in the library where will this be done? Do you have a room that you may dedicate to this use? An alternative solution is to allow videos to circulate and DVDs only to be viewed in the library. The amount of dedicated space can be smaller. If you have computers with a DVD player and headphones, a computer station may be set-up for viewing. You may want to have this in a location where the screen is not easily seen by other patrons. Be aware that if you allow viewing in the library that you may have a room and equipment tied up with one or two patrons for a long period of time.

If you allow AV materials to ciruculate what is your loan period? Some libraries allow the materials to be borrowed for two days, others libraries check videos out for a week. Can these materials be renewed?

How many videos will you allow one patron to check-out? Does this apply when you know these materials are in heavy demand because of a teacher assignment? You may want to place materials needed for a class to be viewed only in the library during a specific period of time, but the rest of time it can circulate in accord with your regular policy.

If you are a school library do you allow all students to check out videos? At my school I allow only a one-ight loan, for grades three and above. I had attempted to lend videos to lower grades, but found that the younger students never remembered to return the videos the next day. Another rule I established was that I do not check-out DVDs to students. They were not being taken care of properly. The DVDs often were lost in backpacks and had heavy textbooks dropped on top of them.

You need to determine what policy best meets the needs of your patrons. What "rules" will ensure the materials are available to patrons.

In our Library Sciences Forum please share what policies you have in your library and why it works?

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Content copyright © 2014 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.

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