About the I.U. Bureau of Audio-Visual Aids
Indiana University's Bureau of Audio-Visual Aids, under the direction of L.C. Larson, distributed 16mm films as part of the greater mobilization of I.U. and its Extension Division to serve the nation in wartime. The Bureau served as a vital link in the distribution of information from the Federal government's Office of War Information to the citizens of Indiana and throughout the mid-west.
Larson served as a major advocate for the role of educational audio-visual centers in the dissemination of government information in wartime. As the nation's entry in the war served to catalyze demand for a new distribution network for non-theatrical film, Larson wrote in A Proposed Plan for an Educational Film Library Association:
Colleges and universities maintaining film lending libraries are now receiving requests from educational, cultural, industrial, agricultural, and other community groups for film programs, dealing with the many economic, political, social, and cultural problems confronting citizens in a democratic country.
Larson's involvement in the Educational Film Library Association included aiding in the October 1942 creation of a plan for the coordination of educational film lending libraries throughout the U.S. to serve as distributors of government films. The plan expressed the prevailing view that "the motion picture [is] an important medium for the dissemination of information, for the building of civilian morale, and for the training of war workers and specialists in vocational and scientific fields." (See: A Plan for the Use of the Resources of Non-Profit Educational Film Lending Libraries in the Distribution and Use of Government Films)
As explained in the 1943 War Films Bulletin, the I.U. Bureau of Audio-Visual Aids and the War Information Center of Indiana provided films produced by government agencies for a nominal rental fee of 50 cents per film (or 25 cents per film if borrowing multiple titles). The Bureau's services were directed at least as much to community organizations as they were to educators. The Bulletin encouraged maximum use of a program of films by various groups in a community, suggesting that "the program may be shown to school groups in the morning, to a luncheon club at noon, and to a fraternal, social, or civic gathering in the evening."
For more about the I.U. Bureau of Visual-Aids and the distribution of War Films, see:
L.C. Larson "The Use of Educational Film Libraries in the Distribution of War Films" article in Film and Radio Discussion Guide
L.C. Larson "The Formation of the Educational Film Library Association" article in Film News Journal