[img id="80167" align="alignleft"] The University of Chicago libraries recently purchased the entire 289-title Criterion Collection as part of an effort to improve campus film resources.
According to the Criterion Collection website, the company “began with a mission to pull the treasures of world cinema out of the film vaults and put them in the hands of collectors.”
Titles in the collection are intended to represent the best classic and contemporary films from around the world. Each film is restored and contains additional supplements such as commentaries by directors and film scholars, trailers, and deleted scenes.
Films by Alfred Hitchcock, François Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, and Wes Andersen are among those in the collection, which is located in the Regenstein Library.
While the library has not received much feedback on the acquisition of the collection, many of the titles have already been checked out.
According to Nancy Spiegel, library bibliographer for art and cinema, the University spent approximately $9,000 on the collection.
The purchase is part of a larger effort to improve the library system’s film offerings. According to Spiegel, previous large purchases have included titles listed in the National Film Registry and foreign films, as well as BBC and Hollywood features.
The library’s current collection of films on DVD and VHS contains roughly 5,000 titles, with most available for normal checkout.
Still, according to Spiegel, there has been a good deal of interest in purchasing the Criterion Collection over the past several years in order to fill what were perceived to be gaps in the University’s collection. The initial impetus came from Berthold Hoeckner, a professor in the music department who first approached Spiegel about purchasing the collection.
Funding for the purchase, which spanned the past three months, was ultimately made available by a grant from the Library Society Endowed Fund.
Librarians do not expect more film acquisitions, though Spiegel said she expects the University to purchase all new Criterion Collection releases. She added that the acquisitions department is always interested in hearing suggestions for new titles or compilations to add to the library’s collection.