Introduction to the Collection Series: A Sneak Peek of the Rakow Library's Video Collection

The Rakow Library owns nearly 3000 videos with new titles constantly being added. Besides DVDs and online videos, this collection also includes VHS, super 8s, mini-DVs, 12” optical discs, 16 and 35mm films, and other formats. Some of the older formatted items have been migrated to DVDs and are viewable in the Library. We have DVD and VHS players in the Library for patrons to watch videos when they visit as this collection is non-circulating. Visiting artists and Studio students are some of the most avid users of these resources.


The Library acquires video materials in support of the instructional, research, and informational scope of its collection policy. Videos are purchased new and used and are often received as gifts from donors, artists or organizations. Some of the most unique videos are those created by artists which have been donated to the Library. Topics covered include glass in its many forms. Educational and instructional videos, documentaries, lectures, presentations, non-commercial productions, and other videos aid in the study and research of glass. The collection also contains a few fictional and animated features. Videos are collected in any language. When possible, we purchase two copies of videos so that one can be used by patrons and one can be placed in our secured stacks. All copies are stored in temperature and humidity controlled shelving areas for increased longevity.

Video section in the Rakow Library

Video section in the Rakow Library

Recently we received The automatic glass bottle blower: an end to an atrocity as a gift. This film, made by two high school seniors, documents child labor in the glass industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and examines how the invention of the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine led to a decline in child labor. The machine eliminated many positions that had previously been staffed by children. The film has won several awards and includes objects from the Library collection. The oldest video in the collection, from approximately 1910, is about the Owens Bottle Machine.

Another interesting work is Buster Simpson’s Pilchuck tapes 1971-1973. These tapes detail the creation of and activities at Pilchuck Glass school through Simpson’s footage of participants and instructors including Fritz Dreisbach, Dale Chihuly, Gianni Toso, Erwin Eisch, Toots Zynsky, Harvey Littleton and others. Unedited, these videos detail original studio concepts and the roots of Pilchuck.

In addition to the videos held in the Library, the Museum offers an extensive collection of videos both on our YouTube channel and our website.

This is the sixth installment of the Rakow Research Library’s Introduction to the Collection Series.
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The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): [email protected]
Explore the collection online using the classic catalog or the Library’s collection browser.

4 comments » Write a comment

    • Meg,

      The Museum is open to the public 7 days a week. We are about to start our fall hours on September 4th, meaning we will be open from 9am-5pm. The Library is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm and you do not need to pay Museum admission to visit the Library. I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying this series. Please feel free to visit our website at


  1. I was delighted to see your mention of “The Automatic Glass Bottle Blower: an end to an atrocity”, and thought you might like to know that the DVD, although entered in the senior division, was actually researched,and created by the two girls when they were 14 1/2 years old and sophomores in high school.

  2. Pingback: Introduction to the Collection Series: A Sneak Peek of the Rakow Library’s Video Collection | Blogging by Amy De Simone

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