Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2008-04-09

Wednesday Night Lights: Television & Movies

Here is last week's idea that slipped out of my head from one place of work to another. I warn you, it's a little underwhelming after the deal I made out of it last week. On top of that, it's something that Pop has covered before.

I was thinking about DVRs and Netflix and how they've changed how I watch tv and movies. I know, nothing groundbreaking, there right? Obviously the two technologies provide access to material in a way that didn't exist before them.

Those of you out there who have a DVR know how it completely alters the television watching experience. Laughing too hard at a joke and miss the next line? Run back and see what you miss. Got a favorite tv show that's on while you put the baby to sleep (7:30-9 CST; that's 8:30-10 for you East Coasters...total prime tv show time!)? Set up a timer and watch them later. Then, after watching your show, run back and watch the news.

It makes you feel like you can run EVERYTHING back and catch it again: the radio, conversations with people, the sky...I tell you, and I'm not exaggerating, during each of those examples I've had the thought pop in my head, "what was that? maybe I'll just run it back a little..." It's like those commercials for the Microsoft Sync. I like my DVR.

Netflix, on the other hand, I LOVE. I feel safe saying that it's changed my life. We used to watch about a movie every other month in the theater and something like two a month as rentals. That's like 30 movies a year. Since we signed up for Netflix, we've averaged 70 movies (I should say DVDs as we watch a fair amount of television and documentaries through Netflix) a year. Not that we need to watch so many movies; we just do.

We have a three movie subscription. We get one for both of us and one for each of us. That way we can watch movies separately at our own pace. We keep about 200 movies in our queue. If my wife wants to watch Hornblower or The Forsyte Saga series on DVD, she can get it and watch it to her heart's content. If I want to watch Takashi Miike or Kar Wai Wong movies, I can. So many things come out on DVD these days, we hardly ever run into things not available through Netflix.

So what's my point? It's about choice. It's about me selecting when and how I watch television and movies. And I like it. I don't want to go back. Both of these things anticipated a need of mine that I didn't know existed. Sure cable, video recorders, and movie rentals sort of give me what I get through the DVR and Netflix, but they don't do it as efficiently or as quickly. This is a case-perfect example of environmental scanning. They determined there was a hole in service and they filled it.

In my opinion, environmental scanning is one of the most under-utilized skills of a librarian. What is your community lacking? What service can you provide to them that they aren't currently getting? Are there groups in your community that are under-served by the library?

It could be something as simple as offering $8 1GB flash drives and $1 ear bud headphones or even providing a place to watch World Cup soccer. Sometimes you need to reach out a little bit in order to bring them back to you.

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4 Comments:

  • At 9:25 PM, Blogger Liz B said…

    But back to Netflix.

    OHMYGOD. Do I love Netflix. Let me count the ways.... It's also a great way for people who do not live in areas that show independent/foreign/documentary films to watch these shows.

    And, um, to indulge in things like Space 1999.

     
  • At 11:39 PM, Blogger IMC Guy said…

    You are right about DVR's. I think the only thing I watch live these days are sporting events. Even those I sometimes start 30 minutes late so I can skip commercials and stuff and eventually catch up before the game is over.

    We use Blockbuster Online- but it's the same thing!

    Good post.

     
  • At 7:18 PM, Blogger sevenoaks said…

    I'm a huge Netflix fan, but I also have found some things I couldn't find anywhere else by going on youtube. I don't own a DVR, but, because of youtube I watch much less tv now and am thinking of knocking my satellite subscription down to the minimum package.

     
  • At 11:28 PM, Blogger John Klima said…

    The DVR has made having a baby and watching tv mesh beautifully. She goes to the tub and then book reading and then sleep right over the most choice chunk of prime time. With the DVR, we just watch it later. And then run back to the news to watch the weather. :)

     

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