For Those Who Miss the Video Store, There’s the Natrona County Public Library
Digital killed the video store. Of this, there can be no doubt. When Netflix first began mailing out DVDs, they changed the world. Shortly thereafter, they started offering movies that could be watched digitally. And that was the beginning of the end of the video store.
Ah, the video store. It's a thing that '80s and '90s kids remember fondly. Before the days of Netflix and Hulu, there were VHS tapes and DVDs. There were no clicks; just flicks.
It was a Friday night. It had been a long week, full of tests and essays and bullies and angst. But none of that matters now. The final school bell is about to ring, and you know that once it reverberates throughout the halls, the weekend is yours. The plan has been set since Monday.
Step 1 - Leave school as quickly as possible.
Step 2 - Do all of your chores so that your mom has no reason to go back on her word of letting your best friend spend the night.
Step 3 - Sit on your couch, staring out your picture frame window until you see your friend walking down the street, and up your walkway.
Step 4 - Talk about the girls you want to speak to but never will, until your parents get home.
Step 5 - Get in the car and drive the short distance to the video store.
Step 6- Spend the next hour looking from video to video, ensuring that you make the best choice for this Friday night sleepover. You opt for Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, as well as a copy of WrestleMania 14. Your parents are feeling magnanimous this evening, so they let you rent a video game, too. It's the best night of your life.
Step 7 - With your movies and game in tow, you pick up a package of popcorn and some Sour Patch Kids and pay for your treasures. Then, you stop by Pizza Hut to get the correct provisions for what promises to be an epic evening.
That was a typical Friday night in the '90s. Nowadays, instead of revolving the evening around the trip to the video store, any and every movie you want to see is quite literally in the palm of your hand. Convenience has taken over experience, for better or worse.
But, if you're longing for the experience of driving somewhere and holding a physical copy of a movie or video game, the Natrona County Public Library has got you covered.
The library is a mecca for book lovers everywhere, but it's not just tomes at the tips of your fingers. The Natrona County Library also offers a wide variety of movies, video games, and more. It might not be Blockbuster, but it's as good as it gets.
In fact, it might even be just a little bit better, in one way or another.
"Video stores were awesome, but when you walked away with that movie tucked under your arm, your wallet was a little lighter," said Lisa Scroggins, the Executive Director of the Natrona County Library. "Let's face it - video rentals cost money. And if you didn't get them back in time...cha-ching; hefty late fees were added."
Scroggins has a point. Nowadays, Redbox has inherited the dreaded late fee distribution. You pay for the movie and you're allowed to keep it for a day or two, but if you happen to forget to bring it back, it's gonna cost you."
"Compare that to the library, where you can borrow from our collection of almost 15,00 FREE titles!" Scroggins continued. "And if we don't have what you're looking for, we will gladly borrow it from another library for you, and we may even add it to our collection. And if you don't return it on time, we will automatically renew it for you."
15,000 titles. The NCPL has all of the movie genres covered - they've got comedy, drama, musicals, foreign, westerns and, of course, they've even got horror movies. A lot of them! Not to mention, video games for the Playstation 4 and 5, the X-Box, Nintendo Gamecube, and more. It really is a miniature video store and it's all 100% free.
"As everything seems to be getting more and more expensive, people have less disposable income," Scroggins said. "The library helps by lending movies, games, and tons of other stuff at no charge."
It might not be a 'Blockbuster Night,' but it comes pretty close. For those who miss the nostalgia of the video store, the Natrona County Public Library serves as something of a blast from the past. And, best of all, it doesn't cost a dime.
And there are no late fees.
And you don't have to rewind (but we still suggest being kind).
The Natrona County Public Library is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Photos of the selection of movies and video games available to rent at the Natrona County Public Library can be seen below: