O’Malley Library’s Nascent DVD Collection Begins to Expand

bestaby Leah Cordova


The DVDs are in. On the fourth floor of the O’Malley Library, past the couches and tables, right next to the busiest study rooms, now sit over 500 films available for checkout. They are neatly organized on their shelves, finally for everyone to see.

“We had space and we felt that not many people knew we even had a film collection. When we started the project over Winter Break, we also started acquiring new DVDs to enhance it” said Amy Handfield, Assistant Director for Access Services, about how the library’s DVD project came about.

Just last semester, while many of the films were stored on the first floor, this space that Handfield refers to held periodicals – the latest National Geographic, New Yorker and WIRED, among others.

“But most of that is available online now,” said Sarah E. Sheehan, Assistant Director of the Library for Reference and Instruction. Thus, the open space has made way for critically acclaimed cult classics, musicals, documentaries, the best of film noir, and possibly every adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays.

“We started the project for a few reasons. It’s a combination of us having the space, but it’s also for the faculty and what they teach, and it’s for the students. We kept entertainment in mind, too, we looked at the AFI lists and Rolling Stone’s top films” said Sheehan, who emphasized the “fun” aspect of movies as well as their importance in regards to academics.

English and Film Studies professor, Dr. Margaret Toth, for instance, teaches dozens of films that students can now checkout. Other professors were also contacted during the process of ordering films.

“This is an ongoing project, we want to continue to add films because they are such an important tool that supports the curriculum and student research. We have so many books about film, and about specific titles and directors, yet had a gap in our collection by not having the corresponding titles available to students,” said Sheehan.

John C. Gormley, assistant librarian, said he looked up the works’ prominent authors, searching for adaptations one might study in class. He also surveyed critically acclaimed directors such as Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, and Frank Capra.

“I also wanted to make something fun more available,” said Gormley, who mentioned his affinity for films of the 80s and 90s as well as lesser known titles that he wishes to share with the community.

The checkout process is simple: empty cases are to be taken to the fifth floor circulation desk and films are to be returned within a week. They can also be viewed in the library in any of the three computer labs or at the two viewing stations of the first floor. Students can browse titles in Jaspercat.

Although the collection has only been available for a few weeks, several students are excited about the addition, and several are still discovering it. According to Handfield, the library has seen an increase in checkouts. At the circulation desk, movies have been playing nonstop throughout the day, catching the eyes of students who might now consider checking out a film from MC’s own library.