by James Hearne
For students looking for entertaining films to watch, it can be difficult to find what you want in Whatcom Community College library’s limited selection. But now the student council has teamed up with the library to expand the DVD collection.
The student council approved the library’s request of $500 to purchase new DVDs. The library pledged to match every dollar allocated by the student council, for a total of $1,000 to purchase about 70 new DVDs, out of a list of 114, for general circulation.
Kiki Tommila, Collection Development librarian, says this came about when a student, Charles Pope, was looking for a film that the library did not have. As it happened, Pope is on the student council, and wanted to help expand their library.
Some of the titles include “The Birth of a Nation,” “Fargo,” and “The French Connection.” Many of the films are used in various film classes, but not all the important films are able to be covered. Having these films in the library enables students to view them on their own time.
Tommila said that part of the reason, for the collaboration with the student council is that the library has limitations on what it can and cannot buy using their own budget.
“We have a policy, and things we buy have to fall into that policy,” Tommila said. Anything the library purchases from the state budget it gets from the state must “directly support the curriculum or support research.” These films don’t qualify, as they are not a mandatory part of the curriculum. The library’s part of the cost will be covered by proceeds of book sales.
Pope said he undertook the project because he felt that the library’s DVD collection was lacking. “I thought of it because our library wasn’t very extensive,” he said via email. “And I thought that it would be a good first project for my first quarter on council.”
Pope said he feels that international students would especially benefit from being able to study American culture through film, particularly documentaries. Likewise, American students could benefit from the international films being added to the collection.
Pope said that some of the films were his idea, and others were suggested by students, mainly his constituency. These suggestions were left at the circulation desk by students, and passed along to Tommila as well as emailed directly to her. The student council prioritized which films they would really like to see, and Tommila made the final decision.
There is interest, Pope said, in further expansion. He said he would like to see an even bigger expansion for the DVD collection in the near future. “For myself, it’s much easier to check out videos from the library on campus than going to a video store,” he said.
“The list was not exclusively generated by students,” he added, “but it was exclusively for students!”
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