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Newly remodeled space in Wells Library now home to Moving Image Collections and Archives

Sept. 21, 2016

Haven’t been down to the ground floor of the Wells Library lately? Plan a stroll through the newly remodeled Moving Image Collections and Archives space.

Moving Image Collections area

Adjacent to the Bookmark[et] eatery in the ground floor of the Wells Library, the Moving Image Collections and Archives invites visitors by offering open play of board games during its open hours. | IMAGE COURTESY OF INDIANA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

Formerly home to what was known as Media and Reserve Services, the area has been opened up and completely refurbished into several separate, yet distinct, spaces. Those include:

  • Moving Image Archive: The library’s collection of educational film and video, one of the largest such collections in the world.
  • Media Services: The library’s collection of classic and popular films, foreign language CDs, board and video games available for checkout to anyone with an IU Libraries card or IU Borrower’s card.  Media Services also allows faculty and instructors to place items on reserve for course assignments.
  • Black Film Center/Archive: The Media School’s research center and archive dedicated to African American film and the cinemas of Africa and the global diaspora.

A recent tour of the area revealed group and individual study areas, a dozen comfortable, multiple-format media viewing stations; several rooms designed for small groups to watch and discuss media together; and an information desk where staff, faculty and students can check out DVDs, video games or even game-playing consoles.

“We imagined this space as a place that invites students and faculty to experience and interact with a variety of formats of media from endless genres,” associate dean for library academic services Diane Dallis said. “We’re also bringing in new technology and ideas about learning so we can keep pace with what our students and faculty need in the future.”

That new technology includes a new asset for the campus -- a film screening room that’s expected to be completed later this fall. The 40-seat room features a DCP 2K digital projector and two 16mm film projectors. The flexible seating can be configured in a multiple ways to allow for theater-style screenings or for seated table discussions. State-of-the-art surround sound and acoustic panels are just one way this carefully designed room will elevate the film viewing experience for visitors who will screen anything from VHS to laserdisc formats. The space will complement the nearby IU Cinema.

Kate L'Heureux

Staff member Kate L'Heureux helps check out and return media items. | PHOTO COURTESY OF INDIANA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

“It’s a great place to screen items that have been digitized through the university’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, or for students and faculty to collaborate,” IU assistant librarian and film archivist Andy Uhrich said. “And it’s so close to IU Cinema that if we scheduled a film festival or something in conjunction with a 24-hour film festival there, people will be able to go back and forth very quickly.”

While the majority of the extensive collection will remain in its ideal storage area, the Auxiliary Library Facility on the campus’s far northwest side, the new space houses office space and a much-needed workroom for focused film preservation activities. The IU Libraries’ Moving Image Archive team said its new spot is a far cry from the old space in a former bowling alley.

The archive is one of the world’s largest academic educational film and video collections, containing more than 100,000 items spanning nearly 80 years of film and television production. It also includes films created by IU’s then-Audio-Visual Center, which shared educational films to schools, colleges, public libraries and other organizations throughout the country from the 1910s to the 1970s.

The new space allows the archive to screen more films as well as have the dedicated space necessary to preserve its holdings, archive director and assistant librarian Rachael Stoeltje said.

In addition, the university’s Black Film Center/Archive is found within the Moving Image Collections and Archives area in space that was refurbished for its relocation to Wells Library less than a decade ago. While the archive is officially part of The Media School and the College of Arts and Sciences, library officials said it makes sense that this university repository is housed in the campus’s main library near other similar resources.

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