Best and Next Department Collection and State Library Resources

About Our 16mm Film Collection

The Best & Next Department maintains a collection of approximately 2,100 16mm film titles, including many hard-to-find titles not available in other media formats. While this collection reflects the general scope of the SLRC collections and most film genres, there is a concentration in the areas of independently produced films (including many Baltimore Film Festival entries), student films, short films, film history, children's films, animationexperimental and avant-garde shorts, and documentary films. The collection also boasts an impressive number of feature films, including  films from the silent era, Hollywood classics and a broad representation of world cinema. This is an historic archive; the Best & Next Department is not actively adding to this collection.

See also:
Pratt 16mm Collection Highlights
Pratt 16mm Experimental Films
Baltimore Film Festival Films on 16mm 
Classic Feature Films on 16mm
Classic Movie Serials on 16mm 

Historical Significance of 16mm Films

Public library 16mm film collections are a valuable resource for archivists. Mostly developed in the post-World War II era, they were established both for the educational enhancement and the entertainment of the communities they served. Once a staple of classroom instruction, they provide a historical representation of a broad range of film topics, styles and genres that are not always available in today's digital and video formats (especially in the case of many experimental and student films that never became available in digital or video format). This historic mix of educational films, early and silent films, documentaries, animation, experimental and avant-garde shorts, and student projects reflects the evolution of film as a medium and contributes to the study of 20th Century culture.

For more about the history, operation and preservation of 16mm films and 16mm projectors, see Paul's 16mm Film Collecting website. 

Finding 16mm Films in Pratt's Catalog

To find 16mm films in our catalog, follow these steps:

  1. Access our home page at
  2. Go to the Catalog . This brings up the library catalog search screen.
  3. On the upper-right of the search box, click the Power Search link, and a new screen will come up with more options.
  4. Scroll down the screen until you see the item type field. Click on the down-arrow and select “FILM 16MM” from the displayed list of options.
  5. Scroll back up the screen and enter your search terms in the search fields (words or phrase, author, title, subject, series).
  6. Click the Search button to submit your search. Your results will display only 16mm Films. 16mm Films are identified in the catalog by XX (number) or AUDIO-VISUALMP. 

Circulation Policy

You may check out up to 10 films, at no charge, for seven days per film.

Public Performance Rights

All of our 16mm films have "public performance rights," meaning they can be shown at free public screenings without having to get clearance from the copyright owners.

Where Are They?

All 16mm films are stored in our third floor A/V Inspection Room; although this room is not open to the public, staff will bring films down to the Best & Next Department upon patron request.

You'll Need a Projector

 16mm Projector 

Please be aware that the Best & Next Department does not provide the 16mm film projectors you will need to screen titles.