Should Libraries Outsource DVD Rental to Netflix?


I was running a search to find more info on Blake's story Should taxpayer money be spent on novels, electronic books, movie DVDs and music CDs? and I found this: Should Libraries Outsource DVD Rental to Netflix?

Article ends by asking "Should libraries be renting movies?"

There are several good user comments to the story.


based on complaints about scratched or dirty or lost disks, most library patrons would get banned from Netflix within six months, then they'd just be back at the library begging for movies.

this is why public libraries exist: to provide educational and entertainment materials to a public that can't follow directions or keep things clean. when you require that public library patrons fit into mainstream society, you undermine the very nature of our service model. public libraries serve the great unwashed; and Netflix doesn't want them as customers.

No kidding...our DVDs & CDs don't last very long.....especially when people let their 4 year olds and dogs play Frisbee with our discs while eating pizza1


Our library doesn't "rent" DVDs anyway - they LEND them free of charge to our patrons.

Using Netflix you could still LEND to the patron. The library just wouldn't have to BUY DVDs because they library would RENT them from Netflix.

With all the damaged, dirty & walking dvd's we encounter...wouldn't we be stuck with a higher cost?

I'm looking at it this way....we pay $X to rent their DVDs, then we add an additional charge for damaged or lost materials. How often will Nexflix accept our (patrons) abuse of their materials and keep us as customers?

In the long run and taking into consideration our actual cost for DVDs, we may be ahead by purchasing htem outright at a discount from "brokers"


That is, that the "savings" from Netflix supposedly being cheaper per transaction than the library would arise--and only arise--through getting rid of library staff. It's essentially an argument for privatizing libraries piecemeal, and of course for reducing the public payroll.

I do not know how you can say "would arise--and only arise--through getting rid of library staff" definitively. You may be right but you may not. Someone would have to run real numbers to figure this out and I am not sure why you are so positive that you are on solid ground. Any acquisitions librarians want to weigh in on the issue?

Breaking my usual new rule ("don't respond to anonymous/pseudonymous comments"), I'll say: The commenter on the original story specifically identified reduced staff as the likely place for savings. And, in my experience, most outsourcing "savings" comes on the back of employees--either because they're eliminated by equating cheaper Service Orange with more expensive Service Apple, or because they're fired as public employees and rehired as private employees with fewer benefits.

But I certainly could be wrong. At least I signed my opinion.

Yes, let's attack someone for choosing to post anonymously. At least you did respond to his/her comment, but really...

What is wrong with the previous anonymous commenter suggesting that someone would have to run numbers specifically for a situation like this instead of just assuming (even counting your previous experiences) that it would be SOLELY based on less employees or reduced benefits? As you stated, it was the LIKELY source, but surely not the only source.

There are other places savings could come from in regards to this. I don't have definitive figures, but it is possible, just possible, that savings could come from the cost of the DVDs themselves, depending on how the library is currently purchasing their stock of DVDs. My library saved a bundle by going with a leasing program from a different vendor. And we didn't have to lose a single employee or drop health benefits to do it either.

I did say that I've concluded that it's generally not worth my time to *reply* to anonymous comments. (Or, at least on my own blog, to pseudonymous comments.) That's a different thing entirely.

but I agree with your point... how can you carry on a discussion with a non-entity?... "anonymous" is a cloud, not a person... I've just gotten too lazy to log in anymore... besides I stopped caring about being the.effing.librarian...

You started off stating that you have a "new rule" of not replying to anonymous commenters. That's fine. It's your choice to do so. It is also the choice of those of us who post anonymously to do so. And it is the choice of those who run this site to allow anonymous commenting. I believe there has been a fair amount of discussion on this topic already.

But to end your comment with "At least I signed my opinion." That's a direct dig at those who choose to post anonymously. Your parting shot is an attempt to discredit the entire anonymous comment strictly because it is not attached to a name. You could have made your point without ever mentioning the fact that some actually chose to post anonymously.

Netflix and Libraries: Electronic Content Delivery begins with Internet TV?

This has some of the same info of the link above but also had this interesting line:

CML loans fewer than ten titles per month, but “it saves us a lot of money,” she said, noting that Netflix supplements the collection and also can be used to screen potential library purchases.