“A Conversation about Video Resources Available to Families,” Ensign, Sept. 1985, 76
Many members are unaware of the quantity and types of video materials available to them and their families through their meetinghouse library or Church distribution center. With this in mind, the Ensign recently spoke with Wayne B. Lynn, assistant managing director of Curriculum Planning and Programs of the Church Curriculum Department.
Q: With the advance of home videocassette recorders, how many Church video materials have been made available for home and family use?
A: The Church offers scores of films on videocassette, with more being made available all the time. These cover a wide range of topics, such as the First Vision, the restoration of the priesthood, Book of Mormon stories for children, and the lives of the prophets—to name only a few. Any of these or other general curriculum materials may be used by members for their own personal study or in teaching their families the gospel.
We have been challenged by President Spencer W. Kimball to make our homes the center of learning in the Church. The thrust behind each organization in the Church, and hence all of the materials produced for those organizations, is to help parents better teach their families. That includes all types of families, from single adults to parents with many children and grandchildren.
We try to produce as many high quality materials as we can and to make them available to anyone who wants access to them, at the lowest prices possible.
Q: How expensive are these videocassettes?
A: It used to cost about $150.00 to purchase a thirty-minute 16mm movie. Now we can put four or five movies on a videocassette and sell it for $15–20. This has put access to these materials within reach of many more families and has made them much easier for the local wards and branches to obtain. We encourage the local Church units to acquire these materials and make them available to their members.
But purchasing the cassettes is not the only way local Church units can add to their audiovisual libraries. Several times a year the Church broadcasts films over the satellite system for the stakes to record and make available to the wards and members. Thus, for no more than the cost of a blank tape, meetinghouse libraries can significantly increase their supply of audiovisual materials. Each stake library should have a schedule of future satellite broadcasts.
Q: What has been the response to the videocassettes?
A: It has been tremendous. The initial demand for the cassettes was so great that the supply we felt would last for a year was exhausted within a few weeks.
The Church has been producing new films on cassettes for about five years and has transferred nearly all of the existing Church produced 16mm films to cassette. As we produce new projects, we try to make the films applicable in a wide variety of situations. For instance, we make them the right length to be used in a class period and still leave time for discussion. The use and application of these materials in the home is practically limitless.
Q: Can families and individuals borrow video materials from their meetinghouse libraries?
A: Yes. Any videocassette or other software housed in the libraries are to be made available to families. The videorecorders that are standard Church equipment in the meetinghouses are to be used only within the building.
In the past few years we have found the need to change our concept of the meetinghouse libraries from merely a place to pick up pictures and chalk for a Sunday School lesson to a storehouse of information and resources for personal and family gospel instruction. We want the libraries to become an even better aid to parents in fulfilling President Kimball’s challenge to make the home the center of gospel teaching.
Q: With the rapidly increasing availability of these materials, how are members to keep up with what would be applicable to use for, say, a family home evening lesson?
A: Members need to become familiar with what’s available. The meetinghouse librarians should try to keep current lists of everything they have in their libraries, even though keeping the lists up to date is difficult. The new Salt Lake Distribution Center Catalog, which should be available in all meetinghouse libraries, has a comprehensive topical guide to all Church audiovisual materials. Thus, if you are teaching a family home evening lesson on preparing for baptism, for example, you have a ready list of all related audiovisual materials.
Q: Keeping up with all of this sounds like a big job for the librarians. Should audiovisual specialists be called to pick up the slack?
A: No. The librarians should be able to handle it along with their other duties.