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Sometimes, you just have to get rid of stuff, even though you’ve had it around for a very long time! This past week we deleted nearly all of our VHS tapes from the Ripley location. Yes, they still go out some, more to other libraries than to our own ‘family’, but…we needed the room for the more popular DVD collection and we’re having work done on the inside of the cabinets to hold more shelves. (Don’t worry, the integrity of the original cabinetry will not be altered!) Some of the VHS tapes were here when I came to Ripley over 25 years ago, and bless them, they worked for a long time. I used to splice the tapes when they came back with a bad wrinkle or tear, ran them through a heavy duty cleaner with special rolls of cleaning paper that caught the dust and got the tape aligned again on the spools, even moved the tape itself to a replacement case a time or two.  We marveled that they had gone hundreds of times (and watched more than that) yet still worked.

When I first started here, there were still two working ‘portable’ VHS players in a heavy case with a handle—we kept them going until they just couldn’t be repaired any longer.   The DVDs and Blu-Ray discs take up less space, and can be played on a variety of players, but not all make it to the 100 checkout mark. Obviously we don’t splice damaged DVDs, but we do have a buffing machine that is very good at taking out fine scratches.   We had been adding some older DVD titles from a large donation we received last year—we’ve been amazed how often the old titles go out within days of us adding it—if not to someone walking in, then to honor a request from another library. Admittedly, a good movie, regardless of how many years ago it was filmed, usually remains a good movie.

So, on these cold, more typical January days, we encourage you to grab a few movies, pick up a pile of books, curl up and enjoy some escapism.