Media Resources and Checkout

What is it?

AT collaborates with the J. Paul Leonard Library to provide a wide range of media titles to the campus community in support of instruction and scholarship. The Library is responsible for maintaining and renewing the collection while AT checks-out the media to instructors and students and provides methods to playback in the classroom.

The collection dates back over 30 years and includes new and old feature length movies, documentaries and docuseries, animated features/series, shorts, TV movies, programs and mini-series in DVD and VHS formats. Many of those titles have become aged and VHS is now a legacy format with those titles in particular becoming obsolete, easily damaged, and more difficult to play back.

As with media collections in higher education institutions around the country, the SF State collection is at an inflection point where campus customers have become accustomed to the convenience of streaming in their personal lives; however, copyright law and streaming publishing create significant challenges for providing that same level of service within the University.

Over the coming years, AT and the Library will continue to collaborate on providing media options that meet the instructional needs of our instructors and curriculum while contending with the challenges.

Support Documents


  • Phone: (415) 405-5555
  • Email:
  • Office: LIB 80

The Library has both physical and streaming media available for use. To find what films the Library has available:

  1. Visit the Library website at
  2. Select Books & Media underneath the search bar at the top.
  3. Enter the desired keyword(s) into the search bar.
    1. On the drop-down menu to the immediate right of the search bar, make sure Books & Media (SF State) is selected.

Many titles are also available in an online streaming format in the Library Media collection. To access these titles please visit the Library website.

If a certain title is not available instructors can then make a request for the library to purchase the media title in DVD or other formats, using the request form below.

Support document:

The Library maintains subscriptions to several video streaming services, some with discipline-specific content and others with more general interest titles. Using available streamed titles will allow for more flexible viewing options for your students and easier for instructors to coordinate viewing. We recognize that from our personal lives, streaming has become a primary mode of media access. However, in higher education, licensing streaming media remains a challenge with respect to access to titles, cost, and consistency of availability in subscription-based collections.

View Streaming Media Options

Note: Many instructors ask if we can digitize DVD or VHS tapes and provide them for streaming. The answer is the copyright and fair use do not provide a legal means to change the format of a protected work from the original form that you may own.

To check out media, faculty and staff can reserve titles in advance or create recurring reservations. Note: Academic Technology does not check out media directly to students.

This can be done by contacting AT Services or by making an appointment. Reserved titles will need to be picked up and dropped off in-person during operating hours at LIB 80, by appointment only. 

The AT classroom database gives a detailed breakdown of hardware and equipment in each room. Not all classrooms have DVD/VHS players, so depending on the cabling set-up in each room employees can determine if instructors require adapters or external DVD players to show media to students.

Support document:

Request forms:

The Library maintains the media catalog including purchasing new titles or refreshing the formats of existing titles (such as purchasing a DVD/Blu Ray version of an existing VHS). The link below will take you to a form to submit the request. Allow time for processing and, if approved, the title to be purchased, acquired, and made available.

*This is service is paused during the remote instruction period until further notice.

Cablecast had provided scheduled broadcast of available media in the campus media catalog to classrooms, but has been paused for the last two years. Unfortunately, the service will remain unavailable for Fall 2022, and its future is under review. In the meantime, instructors and those interested in the service can continue to check-out available media, play it in your classroom, and provide other alternatives for facilitating viewing by your students.

Options for Media Include:

Playing Media in Your Classroom/Student Viewing
In order to play media in the classroom, AT now provides two options for portable DVD players:

  1. A portable DVD player that can plug into your assigned classroom audio-visual system’s HDMI cable and playback the media with no laptop required.
  2. For instructors who use a laptop, a portable USB DVD player can also be borrowed to plug into your computer to facilitate the playback.

For VHS tape viewing, AT will provide an LCD cart with VHS player to handle the playback.

The AT team will help you identify the best playback option and instructions are included with the devices as well as on the AT Support Document page.

Reserve Media for Student Viewing in Library
Instructors can request titles be placed on reserve in LIB 80 for students to retrieve during the hours listed above. The Library maintains 3 DVD/VHS viewing stations locations on the 2nd floor along the front long hallway. There is no reservation for these station, and they are available on a first come, first served basis. Student need to use headphones to listen to the video, since the view stations are located in a mixed use student area. Headphone can be checked out for the library circulation desk.  The viewing station is equipped with a split jack so up to two student can watch at a time.

To reserve media, contact AT by phone at 415-405-5555 or via email.

Why the Cablecast Pause?
AT realizes that the Cablecast service provided a convenient way for instructors to show videos owned by the University in their classrooms and regrets it is not currently available. The Cablecast service requires a level of staffing to process requests, maintain scheduling, facilitate playback, and respond to support questions which we currently lack in order to support the service. Additionally, the infrastructure supporting the Cablecast service is about 30-years-old and consists of miles of co-axial cable connected to equipment in every building. The quality of playback also reflected its age (240i which is 1980’s quality) and Cablecast will not be installed in any new buildings (and is not available in Marcus Hall). We will continue to work with our media partners in the Library to address curricular/instructional media needs which will likely include a mix of streaming options and on-campus options. It’s worth noting that campuses across the country are similarly evaluating how to manage and support media needs with continued challenges around licensing streaming media and physical media becoming less relevant.

  • Checkouts for faculty and staff vary and are given automatically, but can be extended if needed

    • All other items have a maximum checkout time of three days, except for adapters which can be loaned for an entire semester
  • Students also have access to checkout media, but overnight loans of media titles are not available to students