Press Release 4-2-20

Video Librarian Continues Mission Online as the Premier Video Review Resource for Librarians


WARREN, NJ, (April 2, 2020): Allen Chou, President and owner of Passion River Films, a film distributor recently acquired Video Librarian, the premier video review resource for public, school, academic, and special libraries, which has transitioned into Video Librarian Online (

Continuing the focus of the recently sunsetted Video Librarian magazine, Video Librarian Online provides professional reviews that will better equip video librarians to make new acquisitions that help to inform, educate, and entertain their patrons.

According to Chou, “Libraries are incredibly important in serving the entire community, and we need to help librarians with the challenging task of discovering new films for their collections. The power of a story and the moving image is limitless.”

Video Librarian entered the market in 1986 when founder, publisher, and editor Randy Pitman introduced a 10 page-newsletter providing a unique and necessary resource for the library community. Its mission was to become a singular video resource for librarians overseeing the building of video collections.

Now retiring, Pitman says, “I am thrilled that under the leadership of Allen Chou and guidance of new editor Vanessa Bethea, Video Librarian will make a welcome transition to Video Librarian Online, which promises to be a vital online resource for librarians, continuing to offer professional reviews of documentaries, independent films, and classic movies, but on a more timely basis, thanks to the immediacy of the web.”

Written by staff, librarians, teachers, and film critics, Video Librarian Online continues the main mission of Video Librarian but with more enhanced services such as 75+ new film reviews each month, regularly updated news briefs, access to a searchable database of over 40,000 full-text video reviews, and a searchable database of nearly 1,000 video distributors.


What librarians have said about their experiences with Video Librarian:

“I have enjoyed the intelligence of Video Librarian’s reviews for many years. Some of the titles reviewed would not suit my library’s demographic, but I was glad to be aware of them. I purchased many quirkier, non-mainstream titles based on VL reviews and they have circulated well. My intent was to broaden horizons, offer different perspectives. The Video Librarian reviews are an invaluable resource for building a deeper collection.” Catherine Cooper, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library


“Thanks for the great service Video Librarian has provided for so many years!!! Specifically, we use your compiled reviews for selection and when a non-print item is challenged by a customer. Your reviews give us professional input that is valuable.” Kendal Hopkins, Carroll County Public Library


“It is the only resource that I use to develop our video collection. I have come to depend on the brief reviews, audience categories, star ratings, and more. This resource is so good that I never feel the need to look for other places that give similar information.” Frank Bridges, Mount View Middle School & High School Library


“An invaluable resource, especially to those of us from small libraries with extremely limited shelf space and budget.” Cynthia R. Exterkamp, Wilton Manors Public Library, NY


About Allen Chou

Allen Chou is an expert in maximizing digital delivery and audience engagement strategies. Since 1997 Chou has been President and owner of Passion River Films, an independent film distribution company specializing in the release of films and documentaries to theaters, VOD, digital streaming, DVD, and libraries in public and academic markets. Allen manages a diverse catalog featuring Academy Award and Emmy-winning films and directors as well as films that have been recognized at festivals such as: Sundance, Berlinale, Cannes, SXSW, Toronto, Tribeca, Hot Docs and many other prestigious events. In 2005, he established a distribution partnership with Netflix, resulting in over 200 titles released on their site. Allen has also placed titles into accounts such as: Redbox, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, FandangoNOW, HBO, Starz, PBS and more. In January 2020, he acquired Video Librarian. Chou was also adjunct faculty at New York University, teaching film marketing and distribution courses. He is a frequent speaker, moderator, and instructor on distribution and social media marketing at film festivals, industry conferences, and universities. Notable speaking engagements include Film Marketing in Academia at SXSW Film Festival and Professional Development sessions at the National Media Market library conference (company exhibitor & chair). Passion River Films is also a routine sponsor of VRT (Video Roundtable) and have frequently donated their films and set up events for the “Now Showing” series at the annual American Library Association conference.


Contact information:

Allen Chou, Owner 




Phone: 732-372-0300


Vanessa Bethea, Editor 



Phone: 732-372-0300