Viewers’ Advisory
Ontario Library Association Conference
February 27, 2010
 Viewers’ Advisory Appeal Factors - Features
 Documentaries
 Awards and Film Festivals
 Classifications
 Viewers’ Advisory Interview
 Movie and Television Viewers’ Advisory
 Lists and Viewing Map
 Collection Development Policy
 Programming
 Staff Attitudes and Training
 Public Libraries have traditionally offered
selected audio visual resources – 16mm, audio
cassettes, etc.
 Over the past 5 years or so, the libraries have
responded to increased customer demand for
 DVD/VHS circulation has increased to 35% to
50% of a library’s total.
 Economic downturn has increased demand.
 Formal advisory service resources for movies
are few.
Appeal Factors
 Many of the appeal factors in Readers’ Advisory also apply
to Viewers’ Advisory when considering feature films:
Time frame
Appeal Factors in Detail
We will look at the first five factors in
Characters: Ensemble casts, e.g.
Woody Allen movies such as Hannah and
Her Sisters
Plot: Dramas such as Who’s Afraid of
Virginia Woolf, Guess Who’s Coming to
Dinner, Revolutionary Road
Appeal Factors in Detail
Setting: A stronger factor in movies than
in books. Directors will also use setting
to create a specific mood. With the
development of high definition films,
setting will continue to be a dominant
factor. Examples: Laurence of Arabia,
Titanic, Color Purple.
Appeal Factors in Detail
Language: May have a different effect in
a movie since it is heard rather than read.
Can be used to convey an elegance in
costume /period movie or a degradation
of setting, situation or position in gangster
movies. Cult classics Metropolitan and
Barcelona directed by Wilt Stillman use
language as a device to move the plot
Appeal Factors in Detail
Genres: Like books, movies are classified
into genres. There is no definitive list.
1. Action – Spy, Martial Arts, Disaster
2. Adventure – Swatchbucklers, Jungle or
Desert Locales, Treasure Hunts, Historical
3. Comedies – Slapstick, Screwball,
Spoofs and Parodies, Romantic
Comedies, Black Comedies
Appeal Factors in Detail
4. Crime and Gangsters – Film Noir,
Detectives/Mysteries, Serial Killers
5. Dramas – Serious, plot-driven
presentations portraying realistic
characters with intense development and
interaction, settings and life situations Biopics, Melodramas
Appeal Factors in Detail
6. Epics/Historical Films - Costume
Dramas, plot set in a historical period
7. Horror Films – Slasher, Teen Terror,
Serial Killers, Satanic
8. Musicals – Film adaptations of Stage
Musicals, Musical Comedy
Appeal Factors in Detail
9. Science Fiction– Space, Futuristic Worlds,
Aliens, Time Travel
10. War – Often paired with other genres
such as Action, Adventure, Drama,
Romance, Black Comedy, Suspense,
Epics and Westerns
11. Westerns - Spaghetti Westerns,
Revisionist Westerns, Contemporary
Other Appeal Factors
 Director – There are some Directors who bring
a unique quality to a film.
Some appeal factors for a director:
- Type of movie – action, horror, etc.
- Use of special effects
- Award winner
- Use of cinematography
- Level of violence or action
Examples: Quentin Tarrentino, The Cohen
Brothers, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg
Other Appeal Factors
Unlike books, there are remakes of the
same movie plot. Some customers may
want to view them to make comparisons.
Example: Pride and Prejudice
- 1940 – Greer Garson and Laurence
- 1995 - BBC miniseries – Colin Firth
- 2006 – Kiera Knightly
A non-fiction film which enlightens,
informs, educates, persuades and
provides insight into the world in which
we live.
Documentaries - Categories
Historical Films – can cover topics such
as war, social history and politics.
-Example: Jazz, Baseball and American
Civil War series by Ken Burns
Documentaries - Categories
Biographies – Can be considered a
subcategory of historical films for profiles
of historical personalities or can highlight
current newsmakers.
- Example: Bird, a look at the life of jazz
great Charlie Parker by Clint Eastwood
Documentaries - Categories
Concert – an extended live performance
or concert by a musician, musical group
or, more recently, by a comedian.
-Examples: The Last Waltz (The Band),
Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones), It’s Bad
for Ya (George Carlin)
Documentaries - Categories
Travelogues – a form of virtual tourism;
the advent of cable television channels
such as the Discovery Channel, and the
availability of small, high quality, digital
video equipment have renewed their
-Examples: Around the World in 80 Days by
Michael Palin
Documentaries - Categories
Issues - Profile current issues such as
obesity, global warming and the
automobile industry; also benefited from
the availability of low-cost quality video
equipment and distribution straight to
-Examples: Supersize Me, An Inconvenient
Truth, Roger and Me
Documentaries - Categories
How-to and Self-Help - Popular with
those who are visual learners.
-Cover topics such as exercise, health,
home improvement, cooking and crafts
Award Nominees and Winners
 Golden Globes and Academy Award nominees
and winners highly anticipated each year.
 Libraries should acquire as many as possible
due to customer demand.
 Lists should be available for staff and customer
- Academy Award Best Picture
-Golden Globes Nominees and Winners
Film Festivals
Sundance (January)
Cannes (May)
Venice (August)
Toronto (September)
Customers may request previous feature
films and documentaries from directors or
producers highlighted in the latest
Movie Classifications
Unlike books, movies receive a
classification. DVDs designed for home
use in Canada can have one of three
classifications on the case, and they may
not all agree.
Movie Classifications
Motion Picture Association of America
All movies of U.S. origin are rated by the
MPPA. Some DVDs distributed in
Canada may have this American
classification printed on the cover.
Movie Classifications
G – General Audiences. All ages admitted.
PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. Some
material may not be suitable for children.
PG13 – Parents strongly cautioned. Some
materials may be inappropriate foe children
under 13.
R – Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying
parent or adult guardian.
NC-17 – No one 17 and under admitted.
Movie Classifications
 Ontario Film Review Board
General – Film appropriate for viewing by a person
of any age
Parental Guidance – Parents should exercise
discretion in permitting a child to view the film
Adult Accompaniment (14A) - Persons younger
than 14 years of age must be accompanied by an
Adult Accompaniment (18A) - Persons younger
than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an
Restricted – Film restricted to persons 18 years of
age or older.
Movie Classifications
7 classification boards in Canada.
DVDs released in a province that does not
require the provincial rating (Ontario for
one) will have the Canadian Rating
System for Home Videos which averages
all the provincial ratings. These ratings
may be more lenient than the provincial
one required for theatrical releases.
Television Classifications
E - Exempt
C - Children
C8+ - Children eight years and older
G - General programming, suitable for all
PG - Parental guidance
14+ - Viewers 14 years and older
18+ - Adult programming
Classifications can only be used as
Knowledge of the movie/television show
contents is the best tool for advising on
age appropriateness for parents and
Parents are the final arbiter.
Public Libraries and Movie
Cinemas are required by law to apply the
movie classifications and restrict
admittance to films with age limits.
Home use DVDs do not have the same
legal requirements.
Libraries are not compelled to restrict
Libraries can create policies that restrict
circulation – no R movies in collection or
age limits on check out.
Viewers’ Advisory Interview
The Viewers’ Advisory Interview is similar to the
Readers’ Advisory one.
 What other movies have you recently watched
and enjoyed?
 What made this movie especially enjoyable?
 What movies have you recently seen and not
 Why do you dislike that movie?
 What kind of movie are you in the mood for
today? Romantic Comedy, Action, etc.
 Is violence or sexual content an issue? Who is
going to watch the movie?
Viewers’ Advisory Interview
- Would you like to watch how
(woodworking project, ballroom dancing,
etc.) is done?
- Would you like to view a travelogue
before your trip?
-Would you like to watch DVDs for more
information on World War II battles?
Readers’ vs. Viewers’
Factors of Appeal
Customers' appeal factors can relate to
both books and movies.
A discussion of book interests can help
determine movies of interest.
Movie interests can also affect the types of
books that the customer may enjoy.
Movie Resources - Online
Internet Movie Database:
-Provides information on new releases,
forthcoming releases, independent film,
reviews; offers discussion boards and list
Movie Resources - Online
Movie Review Query Engine:
-Claims to be the largest search engine for
movie reviews from newspapers,
television stations and movie
publications; contains information on
forthcoming releases, box office results,
film festivals and best of lists.
Movie Resources - Online
Roger Ebert:
-Offers reviews, answers to questions on
movies, great movie highlights, film
festival information, movie glossary and
Movie Resources - Online
All Movie Guide:
-Comprehensive database of movies
featuring a movie blog, film synopses and
reviews and concise actor biographies.
Movie Resources - Online
Rotten Tomatoes:
-labelled as the ultimate movie reaction
site. There are reviews, news, trailers
and celebrity information.
Movie Resources - Print
Video Hound’s Golden Movie Retriever:
-Touted as the complete guide to movies.
Published by Thomson Gale.
-Indexes: Alternate Title, Videos A-Z,
Category Index (subjects), Kibble and
Series (adaptations, quality check,
recurring characters, successful screen
partnerships), cast, director, writer,
cinematographer, composer, video sources
guide, website guide
Movie Resources - Print
Halliwell's Film Guide:
running movie guide; includes cast
and credit information, pithy commentary
on classics, latest blockbusters, plot
synopses, award winners and nominees
and evaluations.
Movie Resources - Print
Leonard Maltin's 2010 Film Guide:
-Reviews of nearly 17,000 films, index of
leading actors and directors and
Leonard’s personal favourite films.
Movie Resources - Print
Video Librarian
-Video Newsbriefs, Books into Movies,
Mixed Media, Video Movies, Classic
Films/TV on DVD, Video Reviews, Series
Update, Japanese Anime, Music/Dance
Television Series
A wide selection of television series, both
current and past, are now available on
DVD from U.S., Canadian and British
networks in English.
Availability varies in public libraries from
none to a broad range.
Television Series
Customer demand will increase, so they
should be purchased. The library’s
Collection Development Policy can be
used to identify series that will fit your
’Niche’ collection development, e.g. a
broad selection British television series,
will attract customers.
Television Series - Resources
-Reviews television series from 2005 to
See also:
Internet Movie Database:
Rotten Tomatoes:
for television series reviews.
If You Like...
If you like Little House on the Prairie,
you will like.....
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Road to Avonlea
7th Heaven
Wind at my back
If You Like...
You will like The Princess Bride, you will
Ella Enchanted
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Terry Jones' Medieval Times
(Credit: Lisa Winkelaar, UBC Viewers' Advisory Course)
Viewing Map –
Bend it like Beckham
Female Bonding
-Calendar Girls
-First Wives Club
-Thelma and Louise
- Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood
Culture Clash
-The Namesake
-My Beautiful Laundrette
-My Big Fat Greek Wedding
-Bride and Prejudice
Movie Lists – Lost in Austen
Lost in Austen
(Movies related to Jane Austen)
Jane Austen Theme in Feature Films
Bridget Jones' Diary
Bridget Jones, Edge of Reason
Jane Austen Book Club
Bride and Prejudice
Jane Austen's Society
Jane Austen's Life
Library Lists
Skokie Public Library:
Compilations on a number of themes:
Award Winners, Books, Authors and Writing,
Comedy, Cultural Interest, Family, Horror,
In Memoriam, Location, location, location,
Music and Dance, Mystery and Crime,
Romance, Series, Sequels and Remakes,
Special Interest, Special Occasions and
holidays, Thrillers, Action and Adventure,
View-a-likes and Women.
Library Lists
Nashville Public Library
-25 Essential Horror Films
-Broadway Musicals
-Coming of Age Films
-Essential Films Presented in Glorious Black
and White
-Essential Romance Films
-Middle-aged Adults as Characters in Films
Books into Movies Lists
Books into movies have been part of
readers’ advisory
Some lists:
-Mid-Continent Public Library:
1250 books, short stories, etc.
-Edmonton Public Library:
Books into Movies Lists
Movies that are better than the Books:
Godfather, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Return of
the King, Shawshank Redemption,
Princess Bride, Blade Runner, Forrest
Gump, The Shining, Frankenstein
(Some selections from list –
Library Movie Blogs
Regina Public Library:
“This blog will help you stay current with
new and coming DVDs that will be
available at the Library, film awards, fun
Hollywood gossip, trivia and more.”
Collection Development Policies
Separate policy for audio-visual
materials or movies in particular?
-If yes, when was it last revised?
-Does it need to be more detailed? i.e.
features, television shows,
Does it reflect what is actually been
purchased now?
Collection Development Budget
Is there a separate amount for DVDS?
Does the budget amount reflect the
demand and circulation rates?
Does the budget break out Features
vs. Documentaries?
How are DVDs dealt with in the
library’s Collection Development
Programs are a good way to create
interest in films and to bring likeminded customers together.
Movie and Book Clubs
 A good way to link movies and books
 Club members will read the book,
then meet to view the film.
 A discussion of both ends the
Based on a Book Movie Club
Galesburg, Illinois Public Library
-Club meets once a month at the local
cinema to watch a movie based on a book.
They have a discussion afterwards at a
local restaurant.
Toronto Film Festival Series
Toronto Film Festival has a travelling
collection of a selection of its last festival's
offerings available to groups.
Burlington Public Library and the Friends
of the Ajax Public Library offer the series.
Staff Attitudes and Training
Readers' Advisory staff would not consider
not reading widely to provide excellent
However, the same cannot alwaysbe said
for movies and television shows.
There still exists the attitude that libraries
are just books.
If the library's mission is to provide
recreational materials, movies and
television shows are part of the mix.
Staff Attitudes and Training
Encourage staff to develop a viewing list
with a brief review.
Have staff meet on a regular basis to
discuss movies and viewers' advisory
Develop a blog for staff to post reviews,
observations, etc. for both internal and
external use.
Like Readers' Advisory, collection
knowledge is the key in Viewers’
Movies are here to stay. Providing
entertainment media is part of the
public libraries mandate.
View, View, View!!!
Contact Information
Jill Nicholson
Lincoln Public Library
[email protected]