Library Excavations #7: VHS R.I.P.
Consider this booklet a paper memorial to VHS in the public lending domain.
— Marc Fischer
The seventh entry in the Library Excavation series mourns and explores VHS tapes in a public library's lending collection, namely Chicago's Harold Washington Library Center.
In addition to text and photos from the collection and the discard pile, this booklet also contains reflections on the history of VHS at Chicago's Harold Washington Library Center by librarian Bob Sloane, and thoughts on the state of VHS relative to videos by artists from Abina Manning, the Director of Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
As VHS are phased out of library collections across the nation (an online review of the Chicago's library branches shows a total of 3,600 tapes in circulation compared against over 24,000 cataloged DVDs). The dwindling collection includes many obscure educational titles—promoting consumer awareness of scams, art and music instructional tapes, anti-drug films, job training tapes, author profiles, legal primters, workplace problems and many other obscure videos that seem unlikely to migrate over to DVD or web-streaming.
Issue #7 is part of an ongoing project and publication series, Library Excavations, which highlights and activates physical materials found in public libraries and is undertaken by the Chicago-based research group Public Collectors, founded by Marc Fischer in 2007. Library Excavations encourages intensive browsing of paper and print resources, particularly those that are under-utilized, or at risk of being withdrawn and discarded.
Published by Public Collectors, 2017
Printed in an edition size of 520 copies
Softcover, 36 pages, full color offset and 2-color Risograph, 5.5 × 8.5 inches