The public library service to the aged that we emphasize with this issue of VideoCuration: Constructing Library Core Collections, based on the National Media Owl Award, began with film programs in 1946 when the Cleveland Public Library in Ohio announced its "Live Long & Like It Library Club" focusing on the problems of the aging. With a 16-mm projector and a small deposit film collection given them by a Settlement House, Cleveland librarians added film programs to the list of library services. The appeal and value of motion pictures as entertainment and information were immediately apparent. In two years, the library's film collection grew to 400 titles, and in the following decades scores of libraries, inspired by Cleveland, built film collections and some began special programs for elderly patrons. In the 1970s a California library supported by the Older Americans Act reported that of all their programs, "Films were the most popular."
The 1980s brought the video
revolution when the VCR and VHS replaced the projector and film
as the audiovisual medium of choice. Feature films frequently
replaced documentaries and short films in the library's AV collection.
Today, AV circulation is overwhelmingly centered on the individual,
but the Issues of Aging collection represents an opportunity
to revive service to organizations.
From the Curator's Corner: Evaluating
for Programming Possibilites