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Carole Goldsmith

Media resource librarian Carole Goldsmith tries out the deluxe new media-preview room at the Burnaby campus library. SFU’s collection of classic and contemporary films and audio recordings is now available to anyone with an SFU library card.

Film, audio treasures open to all

September 10, 2009

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By Barry Shell

The aptly named Carole Goldsmith is in charge of a little-known media goldmine at the Burnaby campus. She tends the university’s impressive collection of classic and contemporary films and audio recordings at the SFU Library.

The collection was once restricted, but now "anyone can borrow anything," says Goldsmith, the library’s media resource librarian. "It’s not like at other universities where the collection is only available to fine arts people." All you need is an SFU library card.

Last year the collection moved from the library’s fifth floor to a greatly expanded space on the third floor that includes a deluxe media-preview room funded in part by the SFU Alumni Association.

One of the library’s most impressive resources, the room includes the latest equipment for viewing DVDs, slides, VHS videos and even old 16 mm films. Instructors can hold classes or tutorials there with room for about 20 students.

A special climate-controlled vault contains racks of old celluloid classics from the silver screen such as Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes and Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion. Staff will help set up the 16 mm projector if necessary.

A few minutes of searching the library’s extensive catalogue of movies and documentaries online (http://troy.lib.sfu.ca/search) is all it takes to begin an entertaining—and free—video night at home or an inspired addition to a class lecture.

According to Goldsmith, SFU professors use film to teach much more than fine arts. English and history professors are frequent borrowers, as are faculty from archaeology, communication, education, geography, health, sociology and women’s studies.

Films rented from a video shop for home use cannot legally be shown to a class, but much of SFU’s collection can. "We pay for the rights for classroom use," she says.

People are rediscovering vinyl LPs, too, in the library’s media collection. The music racks feature a large and rare selection of electro-acoustic and opera recordings.

And, Goldsmith says, student filmmakers frequently borrow from the university’s huge sound-effects library. Royalties are not a problem because the sounds are licensed for student use.

Media-collection room hours are 9 am-7 pm, Monday to Thursday, 9 am-7 pm on Friday and 12-5 pm on weekends.

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