When asked what the most popular source of watch-and-return DVDs for Americans is, most people would say Netflix, Redbox or maybe even Blockbuster. In fact, public libraries have them all beat, lending an average of 2.1 million movies each day. This finding comes from a report entitled “How Libraries Stack Up”, which was created by OCLC, a nonprofit library co-operative and research organization.
Netflix follows pretty closely behind public libraries, shipping about 2 million DVDs per day (just counting physical discs, not streaming). Redbox and Blockbuster check in at 1.4 million and 1.2 million titles, respectively.
According to Simsbury, Connecticut, Library Director Susan Bullock:
“Friday nights, the hour before we close, it’s like a video store . . . People are running to get their movies before the weekend.”
Based on the most recent available study from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, U.S. public libraries have more than doubled their movie collections over the past decade, “from 73.5 video materials per 1,000 people in 1999 to 166.7 in 2008.”
Do you ever check out movies from your local library, Insiders? If so, do they charge for DVD rentals, or are they free like books? How does the selection compare to more mainstream video renters?