The library is finally open again for curbside pick up of materials! Which includes not only books and audio, but also DVDs & Blurays. Many of you have been enthusiastically using our Kanopy and Hoopla streaming services during the shut down, but there are still a lot of you who like to borrow, or prefer, DVDs. You may have even taken a look at the catalog to try and see what new films are coming out this summer in anticipation. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if you are asking "Where are all the new DVDs, Megan?! There doesn't seem to be much here!"
..... Well, unfortunately you aren't wrong. While there were still quite a few titles released during March and April (and some in May), we are now looking at a serious shortage of hot Hollywood titles for our shelves for the summer. This is largely due to, you may have guessed, the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has touched nearly every industry, including the publishing and entertainment businesses. The extensive shutdowns this spring, some of which have continued into the summer, have closed down many movie theaters nationwide... And a lot of production companies have decided to delay the release of their biggest blockbuster anticipated films until at least fall, but many as far out as next summer. Production on new films has also been delayed, as many projects have had to stop completely during the shut downs. As a result, there is less content coming out of Hollywood right now, and less overall new video content for our shelves.
You may also be saying, "But Megan, what about all of those movies they released right to streaming instead of in the theaters?" This did happen, and if you are lucky enough to be able to purchase a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or another premium streaming service, you could access those with your subscription or by renting. It is possible some of these films will make it to DVD, however we are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain content that is being released through streaming platforms, in physical format (for example: Netflix's hit movie The Irishman or Amazon's series Transparent). The short story is, unfortunately streaming services are sometimes no longer releasing that content on DVD . This is likely to continue.
The good news is that our services like Kanopy and Hoopla are increasingly able to obtain some more recent, popular video content. The American Library Association has also responded to the United States Congress (specifically pages 3 &4) with their concerns about obtaining access to popular and culturally significant content, particularly the refusal of digital content holders to consider negotiating with libraries due to libraries' small share of the marketplace. This is a conversation that was not happening several years ago, so while this still isn't putting all the blockbuster hits on our library streaming platforms, this conversation is progress.
So what IS coming out and what can you watch now? I've created a new "What to Watch" page on the library's website where I will highlight several excellent titles coming out on DVD every month, that you'll be able to reserve for curbside pick up. For the next couple of months these highlighted films are more likely to be limited theatrical releases which, while often just as good, aren't always as well known or widely shown in theaters. I'll also be pulling together watch lists for our Hoopla and Kanopy streaming platforms to point you to great collections they have available, and streaming films that might interest you.
I also encourage you to take this slower period to maybe revisit some old favorites, or watch something you've been meaning or wanting to see but haven't gotten around to. Our DVD collection is quite large, and while we keep it current, we have a lot of old favorites too (including Criterion Collection titles). Still not finding what you're looking for? Submit a request here, and i'll do my best to see if we can get it. Happy watching!