Libraries: More Than A Warehouse

The Search For The Classics

Over the past couple of years I’ve become a little tired of new movies. Every time I get excited about a movie, I go to the theatre and end up being disappointed. I find that I’m underwhelmed by too many explosions, car chases, or gun fights with no plot to back them up.

I recently lamented about this problem to my father, and announced that I wanted to explore old movies. My father was all too eager for this idea, and gave me a list of 54 movies to “get me started.”

I really wanted to get a physical copy of each of these films because I’m a big fan of special features, especially the director’s commentary. Thus, I went to the library’s website and searched for each of the films. I found an astounding 52 of the 54 movies available in the library system.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that fact: 52 out of 54 movies were available to me free of charge.

What was interesting about this experience was that I was surprised that so many movies were available to me, and I am trying to figure out why.

The Warehouse

I’ve often heard the statement that a library is “nothing better than a warehouse of books,” sitting full of dusty old tomes that are never used. I understand why people might say this: just saying the word “library” brings to mind images of rooms filled with books.

Yet it’s fairly often that when I search for an item in the catalogue, I’m surprised to find it available. And when I’m asked by friends or family where I got a particular book/movie/audio and I tell them the library, they’re surprised.

There seems to be this strange double standard for what a “library” really is. Although the word seems to represent a large store of materials, there also seems to be the expectation that nothing will be available.

An Information Source

Regardless of what is actually stored within its walls, libraries are a source of information. Even if they don’t have an item on hand, a function of the library is to be able to get it for their patron – whether bringing it from another branch, or even loaning it from a different library system entirely. Libraries can get all forms of information, including books, movies, cds, or electronic resources.

Yes, traditionally, libraries were large warehouses for books, where scholars would go to do research. But libraries have become so much more than that now. Sometimes people (including me!) need to be reminded that libraries are amazing information sources, and can provide us with whatever information we may want or need.


5 comments on “Libraries: More Than A Warehouse

  1. tsuhelm says:

    My hometown library, York, England, used to have a huge lending collection of records (vinyl). And interested in your Dad’s list of classic movies…

  2. I love this post! I agree completely with you about new movies. I just can’t seem to find a movie that will satisfy me lately. They all have NO plot! It’s just ridiculous action all the time an no character development so I don’t even care about the characters and what happens to them. It makes me sad because there are so many good books out there that I’d love to see made into movies and all Hollywood can do is remake some stupid movie again and again! Apparently they are doing okay, so someone must be watching them, but I’m not sure who.

    I also agree about libraries. I love libraries. I used to go to my town library with my mom on a regular basis and come out with like 10 books! Especially in the summers off from school, I would read like crazy. And libraries usually do have what you want too. Plus now that they have online options, there’s really all kinds of stuff you can borrow for FREE. It’s awesome. Too bad not enough people actually use libraries. That’s sad.

    • I’m so glad that someone agrees with me about recent movies!! They drive me nuts! But yes, libraries are amazing for having so much more than you ever anticipate from them. If they could find out a way to advertise that maybe more people would use them! :)

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