Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Penrose movie collection offers thousands of titles

On cold nights, when going out seems like more trouble than fun, ads used to command, “Make it a Blockbuster night!” But at nearly $5 a movie, video rental stores have lost their luster for many film lovers who have traded stores for video subscriptions. Today’s movie-lovers wait by the mailbox instead of in line. 

Enter Penrose Library. With nearly 1,000 feature films on DVD and an additional 5,600 features on VHS, the library might have what rental stores are missing and Netflix has yet to deliver. The best part — it’s all free. 

Bethany Sewell, Penrose assistant professor and access services librarian, explains that with a few instructions on how to search the library’s collections, a complimentary movie marathon is easily accessible. 

Off the library’s main page,, Sewell says users may browse titles from the “Research Guide” link. From there, they click on “F” for the “Films by Genre” research guide. The guide says “under construction” because new titles are still being added to it, she explains. 

The “Films by Genre” option allows users to browse for titles listed under more than 20 different types, including adventure, animated, comedy, fantasy, film noir, gangster, horror and Western. 

Literary movie lovers can search for film adaptations of works by authors like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and William Shakespeare. And foreign language films are available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. 

The collection ranges from Annie HallTrainspottingGangs of New York and Se7en to CasablancaBreakfast at Tiffany’s and How the West Was Won

If users want a particular movie title, they can search the Peak catalog under “Title.” A favorite actor or director can be found by searching Peak under “Author.”

Sewell adds that if the film isn’t at Penrose, users should search Prospector to check availability from area libraries. Through Prospector, movies can be sent to Penrose for pick up. 

Reference librarians are available to help movie lovers navigate the library’s Web site and find the title they want, she says.

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