Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Netflix for Schools???

I was hoping to gather some input on an idea I had.

Currently, I work as a school librarian and I was considering getting a Netflix subscription for my library. Is this crazy? The idea came to me when trying to make the most of my yearly budget. Ideally, I'd love a well rounded collection of DVDs. Realistically, this will take years to accomplish. I have a personal subscription to Netflix and love it! So I thought, why not subscribe to Netflix?

Throughout my readings I have yet to find a reason why a school system could not have a subscription such as Netflix. Has anyone else? I would appreciate any feedback.


Anonymous said...

What an interesting idea! The only problem that I see would be renting DVDs for non-instructional showings. Simpson describes this on page 71 of Copyright for Schools. I looked online and found a library that has a Netflix subscription. Here's the link:
http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2007/04/22/exeter_public_library_does_netflix.html Maybe you can find out more information there. I think it sounds like a very creative idea. Good luck!

mshoemaker said...

Interesting! So, would this be available only to teachers or students as well?

I'm not a Netflix member. How is there selection as far as documentaries and other things that could be used in the classroom?

Lorena said...

Here's another link about using Netflix in a library setting.


This blog doesn't sound too positive. I wonder though, if a library contacted Netflix and got some sort of business, rather than personal contract with them, it might fly. At our library, we lease books on CD. We have them for 3 months or so, then get another batch when we send them back, so it's a constant rotation and we get to choose (abridged versions since they're cheaper) what titles we'd like. If that works, I don't see why something couldn't be arranged with a DVD company.

Steph Herfel said...

My intitial gut reaction to a library having a Netflix account would be that is a copyright infringement. By allowing library patrons to use videos that the library doesn't own, you would be taking away from not only NetFlix's profits on their rental fees, but even more importantly, effecting the market for the original producers of a movie. I looked at the link Lorena provided here, and it seems to back up my initial reaction. Maybe other companies exist that pay the big movie producers royalties that offer a movie subscription of sorts? I kind of doubt it because of the cost of royalties per movie. The academic library where I work has a subscription similiar to the one Lorena's has for books on CD, but we only have this for popular books (both fiction and non-fiction). They rotate periodically, and sometimes we purchase the ones that get checked out the most and then the get placed in our regular collection. For DVDs, however, we have to purchase them. I have heard that the library could have one of those DVD vending machines like I have seen somewhere (in a grocery store?), but we haven't gone that route and popular DVDs are not consider of great importance in an academic institution.

Pam said...

I have no idea about NetFlix and the copyright law.At our school we have a subscription to United Streaming. This deals more with educational DVDs, but there is a lot of good stuff that a member can download to her computer and show to the class.

Jessica Modrzejewski said...

Not a crazy idea -- but not legal, I either, I am afraid. If showing videos in a school or library, you need to purchase a viewing license -- if you have this license, you can show any video -- including Netflix copies ( or at least that is how I read the contract at my public library). Open for discussion...
Mrs. M.