Yes, we deleted the VHS collection.

Discussion in my office last week.

“Jenny, did I hear you correctly when you said that you had deleted the entire VHS collection? ”

“Yes, you did.”

“Does this mean that the Maria Callas version of Medea isn’t there?”

“Yep, that’s right. It’s gone.”

“Oh dear. You know it’s just what I need for the students……….”

“How about we take a look at YouTube and see what’s there?”

“I’ve never used YouTube. Do you think it might be there?”

So we took a look. And guess what? It’s there. Uploaded in 10 minute parts. Perfect for this teacher who only needed a 10 minute segment that spanned part one and two. Even though YouTube streams really fast at my school I downloaded these parts to ensure that the teacher would have no trouble when using it in class this week.  Result: Happy teacher who now can see the positive use of YouTube for instructional purposes. 

Deleting the VHS collection has been the cause of some angst for members of staff, but the final nail in the VHS coffin had to be hammered in. You can’t sustain a dead technology. VHS players aren’t available anymore and we can’t keep pretending we can rely on old resources. I know some of them were good and probably worth keeping, but we’re just going to have to try and source them via other means. Conversion is a time consuming labour intensive exercise and I could not justify the work involved to facilitate this. YouTube and TeacherTube are amazing; the content that is there is pretty mind boggling really.  Australian Screen and resources available from The Learning Federation are other fabulous source points for video that teachers could be using with their classes.

Don’t get me wrong. VHS tapes still lurk in offices around the school. But they are not in the library and not part of our catalogued resources. They’ll die a natural death when the players that support them curl up and die.

We’re at that point in Libraries where decisions need to be made about what stays and what goes. Non fiction purchasing is the other area where we as a library staff have questioned purchases. We are waiting to see what happens in the e book market and how the handling of that is going to equate with Library delivery of services. There are huge question marks around all of that right now and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with an answer just yet. It’s been announced that the Amazon Kindle will be available internationally in the near future. Right now, my money’s on the predicted Apple tablet as being the frontrunner to take the lead with e book delivery. It seems only natural to integrate the book publishing market with their iTunes library.  

Interesting times and huge ideas for Libraries to grapple with. It is hard trying to predict where things are going and what the best course of action is to take. What is clear to me is that you can’t sit on the fence forever. At some point tough decisons need to be made, even if it does cause some angst.  

You know, I’ve been thinking. I think all teachers should be provided with a copy of Who moved my cheese?” and it should become mandatory reading. If you haven’t read it, get to your local library and check out a copy. Well worth it.

8 Replies to “Yes, we deleted the VHS collection.”

  1. You are so brave. I fear that my “Monday/Friday” club (the group of same teachers who want videos every Monday and/or Friday) would string me up if we trashed those precious videos, which would eliminate roughly 65% of the video collection. We dont have a large collection of DVDs. Funny that they only need videos for Monday, Friday, and days when there will be a sub in the class. Even though its rough, negative, and some say downright mean conclusion I coming too, I’d wager Im right on the mark about most of them. Saddens me. Sigh.

    The teachers willing to use YouTube on the surface seem to be more effective teachers too (and in my school teachers do have total access). Broad generalization for sure, but on the surface it is what I see. I’m just sayin’.

  2. Well done Jenny, I’ll be deleting (and donating) the last of our video collection at the end of this term for exactly the same reasons.

  3. We too are beginning this journey. We have Clickview as of this year and, along with the other digital options via the net, we feel that the time of the VHS is almost over for us.

  4. We’re moving into Clickview next year. Having a very disappointed teacher this week on finding that an 18 year old video had been weeded, forecasts some interesting discussions ahead. An alert AV staff will be a tremendous support to teachers as VHS is dropped off.

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