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Movie Ratings and Parental Decisions

G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, or Not Rated is seen before every movie, and usually skipped as last-minute popcorn is added to the snack pile. But how are these ratings actually used?

  • G – General Audiences
  • PG – Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R – Restricted
  • NC-17 – No One 17 and Under Admitted
  • Not Rated – Film was not submitted for an official rating

DVDs accounted for 30.5% of the Library’s total circulation last year, making it the most popular collection. On any given day, particularly Friday afternoons, patrons browse the collection for the perfect weekend flick. Most make a decision based on the cover or synopsis while others take the time to find more information about a movie’s ratings. The rating descriptors listed after a movie’s rating can occasionally add more confusion to the process. To help parents, IMDb and Common Sense Media rate specific topics in a film—such as violence, language, and frightening scenes—and display them on their websites.

Movies of all ratings are added to the collection to meet the needs and interests of all patrons. We make sure every DVD is placed in the collection where its target audience is most likely to browse. Those appropriate for our youngest patrons, tweens, and young adults are found in the Children’s department and are either rated “G” or “Not Rated.” Anything meant for older audiences—typically movies rated “PG” through “Not Rated”—is located on the main floor. We encourage parents to have discussions with their children about what movies are appropriate to check out. We also welcome parents to talk to Library staff if they need more information about a movie’s content.

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