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From Estripes.com

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

From ’Sopranos’ to ’Buffy’, base library DVD collections can save you a bundle

By Russ Rizzo

Thursday 7 April 2005, by Webmaster

From ’Sopranos’ to ’Buffy’, base library DVD collections can save you a bundle

Did you just drop $40 to get the newest season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on DVD at the base exchange? Or $50 for the complete second season of “Alias”?

If you weren’t planning to collect those DVDs or watch them more than a couple of times, you might have just blown a decent chunk of change for no reason. That’s because, depending on where you are stationed, your local base library could have those DVDs available to check out for free.

Aviano Air Base in Italy boasts one of the biggest DVD collections among base libraries in Europe with almost 2,000 titles after the library made a push to increase its collection last year.

“I know it was a big push for (former library director Lucy Buckwald),” director Lenore Shapiro said.

At Aviano’s library, anyone with a military identification card can check out a variety of programs including the first season of “Nip/Tuck,” seasons one through four of “The Sopranos,” seasons one through six of “Sex and the City” and the first four seasons of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Some movies, such as the “X-Men” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, are available. But the library emphasizes television shows because that’s what its clients want, Shapiro said.

The push to grow the collection has netted results. Last month, library patrons checked out 3,700 DVDs. That’s up more than 1,400, or about 80 percent, from the same period last year, according to numbers provided by the library.

The library at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany boasts another large collection, with about 1,700 titles. There was no recent push to increase titles like in Aviano, said library technician Mark Polen. “The Incredibles” is one of Spangdahlem’s newest purchases.

“You can never tell how many we have because at any given time the shelves are empty,” Polen said. “They tend to circulate.”

In addition to the library buying the movies and television shows, community members also donate used DVDs, Polen said, which explains why the library now has the third season of “Starsky and Hutch” on hand.

Most base libraries have DVD collections, although they vary in size and selection. Some of the other larger collections include libraries at Mildenhall, England, with 850 titles, and Croughton, England, with 800 titles. The library at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, has 416 titles.

Chad Nelson, a financial adviser at Aviano Air Base, said he tells all of his clients about the library DVD collection when they come to him for budget advice. When he sits down with airmen to figure out how to cut down on their spending, Nelson said, DVD and CD purchases are on the top of the list.

Nelson said it doesn’t make much fiscal sense for servicemembers to spent $20 on a DVD.

“They they don’t realize that they watch it once and let it collect dust on the shelf.”