Inside Redbox is the #1 "Unofficial" Redbox Online Community for Redbox Codes, News and more. Inside Redbox is not affiliated with Redbox Automated Retail, LLC.

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?

(via Courant)

27 Responses to “Report: Public Libraries Lend More Movies than Redbox, Netflix”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Vernon.dent [visitor]

    –Do you ever check out movies from your local library, Insiders?

    Yes, but the selection is more VHS than DVD.

    –If so, do they charge for DVD rentals, or are they free like books?

    No fee, but the fine for late return is greater than for other media, but is still lower than redbox.

    –How does the selection compare to more mainstream video renters?

    The choices are limited and new additions are infrequent.

    I would love to have a public library whose DVD library matches the characteristics of its other media–frequent new additions and a large selection. again all for free for nothing more than residency and a valid library card.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joe [visitor]

    My library loans up to 7 movies per card (person) for 1 week no charge (late fee is same as other media 25 cents a day) and unlike netflix multi ones like a complete season of a tv show is considered 1 rental not one rental per disk

    choice of movies is almost as many as netflix and can reserve movies 2 months before they are released

  3. Member [Join Now]
    cedar1079

    I use my library ALL the time. It is my preferred method for getting movies. Our library system functions within the county and has about 14 libraries with DVDs. You can search online and have any DVD in the county transported to your local library for pickup. You can check out 10 at a time (per card) for up to 6 days. They also carry many new releases, but these can only be kept for 2 days. No charges up front, and I believe the fine is .50 cents per day if returned late.

    There is one library which seems to have thousands of movies, probably more than they have books. They keep them in plastic sleeves instead of the DVD cases, so carrying around 10 movies is easily manageable.

    Basically, it’s the best, and free.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    GregMS [visitor]

    The Kansas City, MO public library DVD collection is amazing. TV-Shows and documentary DVDs are free for 7-days (and can be reserved online). Movies can also be reserved online but cost $1 per movie and you can keep it for 7-days. If your local library doesn’t have it, there are about 10 library’s that are part of the KCMO system and they will bring the DVDs to the library of your choosing for easier pickup. KCMO has the best public library system off all of them in the surrounding KC area. I tend to get TV shows from the library and most new movies from Redbox.

    The Kansas City, KS public library does not allow reserving DVDs and you can only keep it for a few days, but movies are free. It’s a very first-come-first get sort of system. It is almost easier renting new movies this way, and your dependent on what your local library carries.

    The Johnson County library system (just south of KCK) I don’t believe they charge for DVDs, but they allow reserving and because they don’t seem to have as many movies on hand, if there is a new movie you want, it can be a very long wait since everyone has around 7-days there as well.

    I don’t recall late-fees for any of them.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Gloria [visitor]

    I frequently check out movies from my local library. They are free, like books, but late fee is $2 a day. I can, and usually do, check out three at a time, for three days. They have a diverse selection, and have DVD and Blu-Ray

  6. Member [Join Now]
    lohertz

    Rent from the library all the time. Checkouts are free and are usually limited to 5 per card or family. Late fees usually run $1/day but you get the movie for a week.
    The selection is decent, especially the kids section, new releases are not as “new” but its a great resource and our family uses it all the time.
    Although with Netflix on the Wii my daughter tends to fire that up before anything. Simplicity is bliss

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    JimBob [visitor]

    Well,

    My Library has a wide selection of movies, this particular library has no limitation on how many items are checked out, TV Serries are 3 weeks, and a normal movie is 1 week with up to 3 renwals unless they are in demand lol… The movies that been out for a while are easy to rent, and the NEW TITLES, will take a minute to rent lol… Well My Library is apaprt of inter-library network and those other libraries on that network allow 5 out at a time, and even a library or two in this network has Blu-rays… The Turn around time for them to arrive at the library of my choosen is fantastic… So I must say the libraries are keeping up to date…

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    John Small [visitor]

    Let’s put it this way. Libraries offer a better selection at a better price than Redbox and they do not have a 28 day delay.

    Do I approve of public money being used to compete with private enterprise? Not so much.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      The Cultural Attaché [visitor]

      I doubt your library is trying to compete with private enterprise. The public expects more than just books. Movies seem to act as a gateway drug–someone walks in for a movie and stays for a program, looks at an exhibit of local art, or reads the newspaper.

      My library allows 3 dvds and 10 vhs per card. Checkout is for 2 weeks (like other materials) and can be renewed if no one else has requested the item. Fines are 10 cents daily, same as for books, etc. Movies are generally available on the first day of their release.

  9. Member [Join Now]
    ChadCronin [chadcronin]

    The library carries some new stuff, but it’s usually checked out. You can rent 10 DVD’s which are good for one week before either being renewed which you can do online or if someone reserves them you have to take them back, and fees if late. They got a very small row of Blu-rays which you can only rent 2 and no renewal and late fees apply. To me the library is ok for catalog titles but I would always go to Redbox for new titles. Besides my library is out of the way.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    tcarroll [visitor]

    Our library is amazing! We provide DVDs to 3 counties in Western Maryland and we even rent Blu-Rays! For most of the libraries you can rent up to 4 DVDs/Blu-Rays for 3 days at a time absolutely FREE! We have a large collection of DVDs and BluRays! And we even get the latest titles!

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    rb [visitor]

    My local library isn’t as great as other bloggers’ libraries seem to be–but still good. Borrow time is 3 days BUT then a $1 fee each day after. I’ve come to understand which dvds they will likely get, and which ones they definitely won’t. Movies like The Last Station, The White Ribbon, or family-friendly , light romance dvds I’ll just wait to get at my local library as those are the type of dvds they get. Any slasher type horror, or strong (sex/violence/gore) r rated movies they usually don’t get unless it was an award winner for one reason or the other.

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    Mike [visitor]

    I must admit, although my local library doesn’t offer near the amount of rentals as everyone here seems to have access to, I would be a little upset that my tax dollars were going to support the purchase of DVDs in this economy.

    Whatever happened to picking up a good book at the library and enriching a child’s brain?

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Tee [visitor]

      I could not agree more, how many millions are being spent on TV shows and movies so that people can have free entertainment, books I get but movies!!!
      Ahh what the heck, 13 trillion+ in debt what’s 30 or 40 million more.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rb [visitor]

      Many, maybe even most, of the dvds at my local library seem to be donated by community members. If not donated directly from the dvds they have at home, a money donation will be made with a request that the library purchase a specific dvd for the community. This probably answers why my local library doesn’t carry a lot of hard-core violent,sex,gore r-rated movies. I’ve even noticed when some one does make a donation of a r-rated, mindless, slasher type movie, it goes right to the ‘for sale’ shelf for 50cents. Therefore, I support my library using my community tax dollars to purchase quality dvds. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge–so any way quality information/knowledge/entertainment can get into our minds to ponder and learn from, I’m all for it!

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        rb [visitor]

        P.S: This comes from a person who is hooked on old Japanese horror films right now and is so sad their local library doesn’t share/understand these films are quality, informational material that the community could learn from and be less ‘ignorant’ of ‘foreigners’ if only the library would carry them!

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    Emily [visitor]

    I go almost weekly to my local public library to get DVD’s. They constantly get new titles in and you can reserve them online for pick-up at any library in the county system (usually there’s a fairly long wait list for new items, but I’m patient). You can check-out 10 DVD’s per card for 1 week and then renew online after that up to 3 times (as long as no one else is waiting for it). The fine for being late is $1/day.

    I don’t feel it is competition for private enterprise or a waste of tax dollars because:
    1. It is for the public enjoyment just like books, tapes, cd’s etc.
    2. They definitely make the money back and then some on fines. My library charges $1/day for late DVD’s which is much more than the fee for books and other items.

  14. Visitor [Join Now]
    [visit] [visito] [visitor]

    Whenever I’ve rented DVDs from my local library, they are always scratched and about 20% are unplayable or skip badly. There is almost no accountability for DVDs or other media, so it seems people don’t handle them carefully.

    Redbox movies are usually in decent shape; I’ve never had one that wouldn’t play.

    I’ve seen some nasty Netflix jackets and had an unplayable movie or two, but Netflix was quick to send a replacement. Once in a while netflix will send the incorrect disc in the correct jacket.

  15. Member [Join Now]
    lumin47

    It depends on what library you go to;
    Our library which is brand new, and state of the art;
    completely computerized, boasts over 10,000 titles,
    (many were donated from people who passed away);
    damn what a treasure trove that never seems to end
    And as for scratched or unplayable?
    Four of them so far for me out of about 300?
    Pretty good odds!!
    I still am a member of Netflix, as the library cannot
    or refuses to accept many titles (purely sex related);
    but it is interesting, that the “chainsaw” massacres and other
    gore movies are all there; Interesting;
    a double standard, maybe?
    Duh!!
    5 DVD’s allowed per week;
    I watch one a night, so no biggy.
    All in all, I am glad I live in America!
    Cause it is all FREE!!!

  16. Visitor [Join Now]
    Andrew [visitor]

    Library system in San Jose, California is the best. You can rent UNLIMITED any movies you want ……….After 7 days, you can renew for another week …..I love and support our city library system pretty much.

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    okcmills [visitor]

    ALWAYS! I remember checking out complete Sopranos seasons box sets as 1 item for a week. Able to renew twice for another week each if no holds. Late fees are .50 day. They still have very good selection and citizens can request new items for purchase consideration as well. Also, I’ve found that very few people request Blu-ray DVDs, so the wait time for them is actually much better than that for regular DVD new releases!!! I love our system!

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      okcmills [visitor]

      One more thing – they’ve already started selling some of their VHS copies (once DVD are acquired it seems). However, children/family titles seem to be very available in all formats.

      I can’t wait to get Kick-Ass! (Only #4 in line…)

  18. Member [Join Now]
    starman15317

    My library is awesome! They have hundreds of DVDs (they got rid of their VHS tapes). They have most movies that you could think of. They even buy some random stuff too (like Night of the Creeps, that actually excited me to see that on their shelf). They only have 1 Blu-Ray, it’s the Pixar Shorts Collection Vol 1 thing, which they also have on DVD. Honestly, I use the library more than Redbox. I go there every week. My library lets you check out DVDs for free and you get them for one week. You can renew them once as long as there isn’t a hold on the DVD. I go to another library that isn’t as nice, they pretty much only have VHS tapes (and for some reason, a lot of Van Damme movies :D)
    That library lets you check out tapes for free for a week also.

    It’s kind of ironic that people who MUST rent movies on Blu-Ray go to libraries, a lot of which don’t have Blu-Rays, have DVDs and even have VHS tapes! But, hey, I don’t care. I love VHS myself!

  19. Visitor [Join Now]
    SUSAN EABY [visitor]

    I get all my movies from the library. I do live only 4 doors down from a branch library. They personally have a limited selection but you can request items from anyone of the other 15 branches and the main library.
    You can check out up to 10 dvd’s at one time and keep them for a week. There is a $1 dollar a day fine if late.
    They have a very good selection and get all the new movies. Now you need to be savvy and put these on hold well in advance.
    You may have up to 10 items on hold for each card. There is no charge for putting things on hold and you can do that anytime day or night on the computer.
    I am sometime like number 100 or more in line but hey, I can’t watch them all at one time anyway.
    If there is something they don’t have or I don’t want to wait that long for I will go to Redbox.
    But I am very happy with my library system.

  20. Member [Join Now]
    spoonied

    In the Southwest Wisconsin Library system, they even have blu-rays you can check out. There are also PS3 games, Wii games, as well as games for older systems. No limit on what you check out, but the checkout time is for one week. You can even go online and reserve your movies. When the item is available for checkout, they get it to the closest library of your choice in the system (which includes about 12 libraries) and email you or call you when it arrives. It’s pretty insane the amount of tax dollars being used for all of this. Obviously, it’s pretty popular.

  21. Visitor [Join Now]
    Douglas Galbi [visitor]

    Why compare all public libraries to one video rental company? All public libraries video lending equals only about 20% of all commercial video rentals. See
    http://purplemotes.net/2010/08/08/u-s-public-libraries-video-circulation/