Publications: Library Video Magazine, 1986-1990

From 1986 through 1990, the American Library Association produced a series of videos about general issues in library administration known as Library Video Magazine. Each installment is rich in the experienced perspectives of library leaders of its time. Read on to learn more about Library Video Magazine!

Unlike its predecessors, the Library Video Magazine was a video-based publication series available to libraries, librarians, and the general public too. Available in three media formats (VHS, Beta, and 3/4″ U-matic formats), the LVM was produced quarterly in 30-minute installments with a wealth of brief video segments on a variety of themes in each issue.

Before today’s online media-sharing services, the ALA was an early adopter of video-sharing as they developed this series of videos exclusively about libraries and library issues. To financially support production of these videos, early subscribers were offered a discounted annual subscription rate too.

Of course, each volume included an alphabetical subject index for locating specific video content too. To use the index, there were a few simple steps. First, viewers located the relevant subject title from the index. Then, the appropriate tape was loaded into the video player. Next, viewers rewound the tape. Afterwards, viewers set the tape counter to “zero”. Finally, the tape was advanced to the appropriate segment.

Following the first volume, the accompanying publication Prompts was included to provide production information to users. Beginning with Volume 2, the publication was renamed Producer’s Notes and it accompanied every issue. The new Producer’s Notes also included descriptions of each segment’s content.

By Volume 3, Producer’s Notes had reduced its size to fit into newer VHS tape containers. By Volume 4, while ushering in the new decade, Library Video Magazine had modified its format from four annual issues to three annual issues, and it reduced content to reduce subscription prices too.

The Library Video Magazine series continued for a total of 15 issues, published quarterly, over the course of half of a decade, while other publication series were produced alongside this series too. The later twentieth century saw a continued expansion of innovative A.L.A. publications guiding and supporting libraries and librarians across the country and the world.

Copies Available at Your ALA Archives

Physical copies of Library Video Magazine are available for viewing at the ALA Archives. Please view the Record Series 12/9/11 database record entry, for more information.

Got Something to Donate to the Story So Far?

Many people have been involved in the long history of A.L.A. publications and library leadership. Do you have any information about early Library Video Magazine participants, collaborators, publications, or beneficiaries? Please contact us through social media. We and our readers would like to read about it.