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Film and Video Librarians


The career of film and video librarian has grown in popularity over the last several decades due to technological innovations and the growth of the motion picture, television, and educational media industries. However, this career actually began more than a century ago, according to the article "The History of Media Librarianship: A Chronology," by Amy Loucks-DiMatteo. In 1894, the Library of Congress housed the first paper or contact prints of motion pictures, and film librarians were needed to manage this collection. By approximately 1910, the Bell & Howell Film Company had assembled a film library of more than 1,200 silent and sound motion pictures. And by 1924, the American Library Association (ALA) recognized the growing importance of audiovisual libraries by creating a Visual Methods Committee to provide support to library professionals in this subfield.

The audiovisual library field grew in popularity over the next four decades. Major developments included the establishment of the first library audiovisual course at Peabody College in 1935; the publication of the book Audiovisual School Library Service (by Margaret Rufsvold), which offered instruction on how to establish an instructional materials center, in 1949; and the merging of many audiovisual libraries and traditional libraries into cohesive units in the 1950s and 1960s.

The introduction of home video in the 1970s created strong demand for librarians who specialized in audiovisual materials. Today, opportunities continue to be good for film and video librarians as a result of technological advancements and the increasing popularity of film and video as methods of entertainment and education.