Thousands of DVDs: How Do You Measure, a Year in the Life?

Most folks coming to a university have a goal in mind, and most of those goals are attainable. Finish a class. Finish a degree program. Earn a diploma, find out your life’s passion, find out what isn’t your life’s passion, make some friends for the moment or friends for life. Some of these goals take years to finish; some take a mere semester or less.

For myself, however, I’ve got a different goal in mind entirely, and it’s something I know I’ve failed at before I’ve even properly started. My own Everest is located at what is ostensibly GMU’s social hub: enter the main floor of the JC, make your way back past the information desk, enter the glass double-doors of the Gateway Library, wave hello to the friendly staff at the front desk and find the hidden two-sided staircase just behind them, climb the staircase and walk as far back left as you can go, and there, by the large windows spanning one large part of the wall with their magnificent view of the south side of campus, you’ll get a view of another kind of marvelous thing entirely: the GMU Media collection. Walk towards those taupe-colored carrels and black cabinets, slide open the shelves, and there they are: the DVDs.

My aim is to watch every single one of them.

The GMU library system has everything.  Documentaries, foreign flicks, comedies both high-brow and low.  Movies that were in the theaters for over a month; movies that should have been in theaters for over a month.  Oscar contenders and Razzie award-winners.  TV shows both old and new; the complete Twilight Zone; almost all of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre; Game of Thrones alongside Columbo.

I suppose, given time, that anything is possible. There are very few things which I am absolutely sure of, but my view on the following is unshakable: no matter how long my time at GMU lasts, I will never, ever, finish watching every DVD housed at Mason’s libraries. I also recognize that I am part of the problem. In the few moments that I haven’t found what I’m looking for, the Mason Libraries staff have found a way to order it for me. You see the dilemma? How can I possibly finish every movie when I continue to request additions to the collection?

Because of Mason’s Library system, I was able to see Fill the Void, an incredible film that follows a Hasidic Jewish woman and her family, which had a limited run in theaters in VA and DC and which was therefore difficult to view otherwise.  The Hollow Crown, BBC’s stunning rendition of Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, which did not air in the US until a year after the UK, was immediately available to me through the Gateway Library. Le Quattro Volte, a stunning Italian treatise on life’s immutable cycles, was a movie I just happened to stumble upon while thumbing through the collection, and yet it had such a profound effect on me that to call it a life-changing film would not be an overstatement.

I’m not alone in feeling that the ultimate aim of education is to open doors to new worlds. No matter your field of interest – whether you are a writer, an artist, a scientist or an engineer – there’s a high probability that during your time at Mason, you will stumble upon a thought or an idea that introduces you to an entirely new realm that you’d never considered before, just as I came upon that movie amid hundreds of others. Mason’s library system ensures that the number of new worlds you discover are truly limitless – all you have to do is make your way up that back staircase in the Gateway Library, walk over to the DVD carrels, and open yourself to the universes contained therein.

Priyanka Champaneri is a staff member with the Office of the University Registrar and a frequent library patron. The last movie she saw was Mistress America.

Note: The title is taken from the lyrics of the musical Rent.  – LJ

New listserv for fans of the Dancing TV 1994 series

The listserv is for educators, librarians, and colleagues in related fields who are interested in the 1994 TV series, Dancing, directed by Rhoda Grauer.  Topics for discussion may include the series unavailability on DVD and about the series in general. Educational and scholarly topics for research encouraged.

Subscription directions are below.  If you need more info, please contact the list owner, Laura Jenemann.

And if you haven’t signed the Dancing petition yet, find out more here.


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Film Festival/Festival de Cine: New Films from Latin America and Spain Spring 2015 Semester

George Mason University Libraries is one of the sponsors of the Film Festival/Festival de Cine!

This Spanish and Latin American film festival features films organized around two related questions: first, how do these Spanish language films reveal new knowledge concerning  the lived social and cultural histories of multilingual groups within larger national and transnational contexts; and second, how does the art of these films provide viewers with a critical eye on the connections between language and power, such as the relationship between “national” languages and hegemonic culture and the link of linguistic difference with popular culture “from below.”

All films subtitled. 


Festival de Cine begins Monday, 2 February, 7:20 pm, Research I, Room 163, with 7 Cajas (7 Boxes, directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori, Paraguay, 2011).

 For information see event site or contact Professors Lisa Rabin or Esperanza Roman-Mendoza.

Swank Titles Spring 2015

Mason Libraries has access to the following streaming films through Swank Digital Campus this term:

Mississippi Burning
North Country
Excalibur – Effective March 15

Interested in these titles, or learning more about Swank?  Contact us!

Come browse our media

Mason students, faculty and staff may now browse Gateway Library’s media collection. Previously shelved in closed cabinets and retrieved by library staff, you can now see what’s available, select what you want to borrow, and check it out at the first floor service desk. The media collection is located on the second floor, Gateway Library (Johnson Center). Questions? Please contact the Gateway Library service desk at 703-993-9060.

Gateway Library Media Changes

Changes are afoot for the media collection on the second floor of the Gateway Library.

The Media Services Desk, 2nd Floor, Gateway Library@Johnson Center has been closed, but the collection is still available for use.

To access Gateway Library media, either:

Place a request in ILLiad to request an item.
Select the Document Delivery Book/Media form to request.
The item will be pulled by staff and placed on Hold at the Gateway Library Service Desk.


Ask for assistance at the Gateway Library Service Desk.
Staff will retrieve requested items on demand as quickly as possible.
If  you are requesting a large number of items at one time, staff may ask the patron to request the items through ILLiad or leave their list of items to be retrieved at a later time.

Questions? Please contact Laura Jenemann, Film Studies/Media Services Librarian.


This is the blog for Media Services in the University Libraries at George Mason University.

Media Services Contacts

Laura Jenemann
Media Services/Film Studies Librarian

Denise Klasen-Lopez
Circulation/Media Assistant