Home » Library Systems » Historic ‘Blockbuster’ Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past

Historic ‘Blockbuster’ Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past

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Historic “Blockbuster” Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past (runtime 1:59)

….Hmmm….And, by extension, I could see someone creating a mockumentary for Libraries.  Of course, perhaps someone could work on the Shopping Mall mockumentary in the same respect.

In this mockumentary, the person acting as an ‘actual Blockbuster employee named Jerome’ states, “My main responsibilities are to man the cash register and to take the movies from the return slot back onto the shelves.”  Obviously, this is similar function served by circulation clerks and shelving technicians in many of our Libraries.  Albeit, this is an oversimplified summary of a job description that does maximize the humour in the situation, but, sadly, as we continue to move from brick and mortar Libraries to more virtual or digital Libraries, such functions are still essential. Moving physical bits in the traditional business model is unavoidable, but as our practice becomes more and more digital and new models and practices evolve, the juxtaposition of these two worlds can become much more glaring.

To the tour group, one character states: “I am a blockbuster customer named Cathy. Two times a week a travel six miles to rent and return videos. Oh, look we’re in the Comedy section.”  Again, the similarities between the old world video store are not unlike traditional Libraries (or even brick and mortar stores for that matter).  Expecting people to travel ‘great’ distances and then look for an item that may be located in a seemingly arbitrarily location due to a limitation imposed by the physical medium is obviously very similar to the old brick and mortar Library experience.

As Cathy states “What’s so poignant about this time is the uncertainty: When you get to the Blockbuster, are they going to have your video? Did someone else rent it? Is there a line? Are the alarms going to sound, when you walk out the front door? It was very difficult for the people that lived during this era.”  Again, requirements of making any physical medium available impose some restrictions and require certain business processes or policies and practices to be created, but even as this video pokes fun at the historic Blockbuster, we have to wonder what kind of legacy would be left by a mockumentary of Libraries.

As Jerome states to Cathy:  “Yes, we have it, but our only copy is checked out.”  Though we all face limitations with the physical nature of our historical Libraries, hopefully we can do better at making things less difficult for our patrons so watching such a video wouldn’t seem so mocking.

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