Why Does It Take So Long for a DVD to Become Available?

Every week we add new videos to our collection. I like to think of these videos as new to us. Sometimes the items were just released to the mass market, sometimes the DVDs have been available for years, and sometimes the DVDs have been kept in my office for months (or years.) Why, you may ask, does it take so long for the items we receive to become available?

There are many steps to make a video available for checkout. After we receive an item, we have to put a variety of stickers on it to mark it as belonging to the Otis Library’s collection. Then it has to be cataloged, i.e. have a detailed record added to the Library’s OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). We catalog them according to priority: items needed for a class, requested items, replacement items, highly sought after items, and everything else. Creating these records is an art. Although many of the videos have been cataloged by other libraries, many of the videos in our collection are unique or of limited interest to other libraries. Finally, the DVD returns to the VRC for some final stickering before getting shelved.

Thus, there is rarely a unifying theme for the new video list. That said, trends can be found. For instance, this week’s new-to-us videos include 1990s romantic comedies (Pretty Woman, French Kiss, and You’ve Got Mail) and items overlooked by the 2006 Oscars (Borat, Children of Men, For Your Consideration, and Stranger Than Fiction.) Please check the OPAC to find out if the item is available (i.e. on the shelf) or checked out to another patron.

If you would like to request a video, please read this post first.


  1. interesting…