24 January 2008

Netflix at your library? Why not, it's your money!

Let's face facts: Video is HOT at your library. VHS, DVD, whatever, my local branch library is always triple-packed on Fridays with folks loading up on videos for the weekend. Weekdays are busy as well. For libraries, this is a good thing. Circ. counts up, traffic up, it all looks good on the reports. For patrons, it's also a good deal. Where else can you see first run movies essentially free?

However, why stop at DVD's?

I would argue that your library should offer Netflix for your home...and here's why:

Reading the WSJ this morning, I stumbled across a facinating column by Lee Gomes in which he discusses the merits and the challenges of the Netflix download service. In case you have not heard about this, Netflix offers an option to basically stream first run movies to your PC instead of physically shipping you the disc. Lee goes on to talk about setting up a PC, connecting it to his TV and enjoying the benefits from his couch.

So why can't libraries offer this for their patrons? Why stick with old media to buy, catalog, store, circulate, repair....all of which takes staff time and money. Libraries sign database deals all the time with major vendors...why not Netflix? Restrict access via proxy server and or gateways that are already set up to handle DB traffic that may be in place. Libraries are always talking about the future and Web 2.0 offerings to their patrons, right?

I say...Let's give'em Netflix...and watch the stats soar!



Lee's Column: Think of an Old Film...


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