Students on the BYU campus have no issue gaining access to thousands of movies, TV shows and more, thanks to the Harold B. Lee Library’s Media Center and Motion Picture Archives Film Series.
These two HBLL programs represent the comprehensive film and motion picture collection that exists within the library, and how easily accessible it is to students. The Media Center has an extensive motion picture collection including 9,484 VHS tapes, 12,785 DVDs and 338 BluRays, with dozens of new items coming in every month.
Last November alone, almost 25,000 people used the Media Center and its services, according to the Media Center’s Unit Manager Cyndee Frazier. Students, staff and faculty can all reserve and use facilities and services (such as a professional voice recording booth and a full green screen studio) through the Media Center website.
Some people are aware the Media Center exists, but have not had the chance to use it. BYU Student Trey Novak said even though he uses the media center mainly for printing, he will probably check out a movie from there in the future.
“They always have those previews back there on the TVs, and there was one that was Godzilla versus some monster and it looked so bad that it would be funny,” Novak said.
The Media Center also provides a wide selection of genres for students to choose from. In the foreign language section alone, there are over 1500 titles available in foreign languages.
BYU student Jacob Andrus said he likes the Media Center because it is an easy environment to work in. He said it is usually less crowded than the rest of library, and is comfortable enough to talk if he needs to. He uses the Media Center for a variety of reasons like writing papers, but watching movies in the viewing rooms is his favorite.
“It’s free, and you get a theater to yourself,” Andrus said. “Not many people use it as they should. A lot of people don’t realize there is a lot of helpful stuff up here.”
A large portion of the library’s film collection is available for streaming from the Media Center website as well. Feature films, documentaries, and live performances can all be streamed from the HBLL website from reputable sources like the Routledge Performance Archive, a renowned online resource for plays, theatre, and dance performances.
Students can also enjoy films in the library with the Motion Picture Archives Film Series, an ongoing classic film series now in its 17th season in the HBLL. Since its first showing in January 2000, the series has shared classic films from the BYU Motion Picture Archive, part of the Special Collections of the library.
“The BYU Motion Picture Archive contains approximately 500 feature films,” said Jim D’Arc, curator of the Motion Picture Archive. “Film choices for the series are primarily governed by the feature film titles that are available in our film-oriented manuscript collections of major American directors, producers, film composers, actors, and actresses.”
D’Arc also emphasized the importance that the film series has for students who come to watch the films.
“The series complements the courses of instruction in English, American Studies, Theatre & Media Arts, History and a number of other disciplines that incorporate popular films as significant cultural documents,” D’Arc said.
One of the film series’ goals is to replicate the film-viewing experience that has been lost in recent years of digital and small-screen viewing. The series accomplishes this by showing the films through an original film projector with no digital interruptions.
“Seeing these films on the big screen with an audience also more accurately represents how these films were received by audiences during their heyday, in contrast to viewing them on home video or computer screens or television sets.” D’Arc said. “Filmmakers produced these films with mass audiences in mind and the maximum impact is achieved even today in seeing these films in a similar venue.”
The film series continues its winter 2016 program slate with “A Chump at Oxford” (1940) on April 8 and “Winged Victory” (1944) on May 20. Both will be shown in the HBLL Auditorium at 7 p.m.