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Waidner-Spahr Library

Collections Guidelines: Films

How Do I Request a Film?

Please allow 2 weeks for the library to acquire U.S. films, and 6-10 weeks for non-English films.

Faculty may request specific films for course use or addition to the library collection by completing the Film Request Form.
You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • film title, title in English if applicable, director, year released
  • any special version requests (e.g., director's cut)
  • subtitle language preferences
  • the course(s) for which the film will be used (if applicable)
  • preferred format (DVD, streaming, other) 
  • date the film is needed

We may be able to borrow a DVD copy from another library or the vendor if you want to preview a film before making a purchase recommendation. If the library already has a film on DVD, faculty can place it on reserve and "book" it for a specific class showing date using the online form on the Faculty Reserves Services page.

Representatives of official Dickinson administrative units, groups or clubs may request that the library acquire documentary films for co-curricular showings by contacting a liaison librarian or emailing Please provide: film title, English title if applicable, director, film release date, intended use of the film, and when it is needed. Note that the library cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain a film for co-curricular showings.  For information on performance rights for campus screenings, see:


The library has over 8,000 DVDs, as well as a legacy collection of nearly 5,000 films in VHS format.  Visit the "Find Films" webpage to search for both DVDs and VHS films in the library collection.  If the library only has a film on VHS that is needed for course use, faculty may contact their liaison librarian and request that a DVD version be acquired, if possible. 

Personal DVD playing devices are available for loan.  Ask at the main library Circulation Desk of contact for more information.

What about Blu-Ray & Multiregion Players?

The library tries to purchase regular DVD format, because that format is playable in most "smart" classrooms on campus.  If a film is only available in Blu-Ray format and/or International format, or if a professor specifically requests Blu-Ray format for a course-related film we will accommodate that if possible. It is recommended that you test any Blu-Ray and international disc in advance in the room you will be using to avoid any potential issues.

Academic Technology Services has a page showing the equipment available in "smart classrooms" on campus.  They also have some loaner equipment for use in classrooms.  Please check with Academic Technology Services regarding classroom equipment needs

The Library currently has no Blue-Ray players in our building, but we do have International DVD players, as well as some loaner DVD players. 

(updated 7/13/23)


What about Existing Streaming Film Collections and Services?

Want to help us stretch our budget?  Search our existing film offerings to see if a suitable film on your subject is already available through the library listed at: 

  • We have unlimited subscription access to hundreds of thousands of films across the disciplines through Films on Demand, Docuseek, and AVON.  Kanopy films are licensed by the library for one year at a time on a “pay per view” basis and you are encouraged to use those for curricular and research use.   Please do not use Kanopy for personal binge-watching as it drives up our costs. The Cumberland County Public library provides Kanopy access for personal viewing.   

  • If a DVD suits your needs, the library has thousands of DVDs of feature films, documentaries and TV series listed in the library catalog. The library has portable DVD players available to borrow. DVDs can be placed on physical reserve for courses by completing the Course Reserves Request Form.  The library anticipates resuming physical reserves for supplemental course materials for the Fall 2021 semester. 

The library cannot provide access to streamed content that is only made available to the individual consumer market (e.g., iTunes, NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon, AppleTV, VuDu, etc.).  Check your individual terms of service for permitted uses. Individuals desiring access to the streamed version may need to rent, purchase or subscribe directly through the online service and check the terms of service for allowed uses.  While no site is comprehensively in showing streaming options, the site "JustWatch" allows you to search for a film and see multiple options for individual streaming rental and purchase. 

Can I use Roku, Chromecast, etc. to view library streaming film collections?

Some library streaming services have apps available on various devices. If a streaming service is compatible with a device, you can view library films on that device from OFF-campus. Check information on the particular streaming service website for more information.

Additionally, users may be able to stream library films to compatible smart TVs while that are connected to the Dickinson network via a wired ethernet port.

Many wireless streaming devices CANNOT be used on campus.  Dickinson uses secure Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) standard which requires both a username and password to connect.  This prevents some consumer devices (which are designed for home networks requiring only a password/key) from connecting.

See Dickinson Network Device Guidance for more information about which devices may be used on campus.