Let’s face it--your movie collection is often an unsung hero at your library. While your patrons have started to think outside the book and indulge in digital resources and makerspace offerings, your movie collection has fallen to the wayside. However, there are lot of unique benefits movies and movie screenings can bring to your patrons both culturally and academically that shouldn’t be ignored. Here are a few ways movie viewings can help strengthen your library’s community and can truly help your patrons bond. James Bond.
If you’ve ever observed the level of intensity and fervor middle-schoolers experience when they watch Bill Nye the Science Guy, you start to realize just how powerful video learning can be. While we’re not suggesting that your library become the next science guy (guybrary?), channelling your inner Nye can help your library attract more patrons, as well as enhance your partnerships with schools. Are schools in your area gearing up for research paper season? Or how about a semester-long history series about the American Civil War? Try coordinating your efforts by hosting a school-wide viewing with an option to provide other resources. After all, nothing quite supplements a unit on the Civil War like your microfiche collection of handwritten letters from the Confederacy and a viewing of Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War.
Library gatherings like book clubs and makerspace events make your library invaluable to your community. However, there are many opportunities where hosting a movie viewing (or even starting your very own movie club!) can help strengthen your library’s offerings. Poll your library’s existing clubs and groups to find out if movies could help expand their knowledge on a particular topic. If your patrons regularly attend your library’s travel book club, suggest a monthly community viewing of a travel documentary and let your patrons choose the destination.
In order to take it to the next language, offer your patrons the opportunity to get their language fix through Mango Premiere. Premiere allows patrons to truly learn from foreign films by placing both the English and foreign subtitles side by side to help your patrons learn new vocabulary words. What’s more? Premiere also allows patrons to pause on certain scenes, quiz themselves and even gain a better grasp on cultural phrases and practices. After all, there’s nothing quite like watching the Chinese comedy 功夫灌籃 (Kung Fu Dunk) while learning how to whisper 通過爆米花 (or pass the popcorn in Chinese).
Just for Fun
Your library’s movie collection likely has hit classics like Hocus Pocus thrown into the mix. While patrons can’t necessarily learn anything from the Sandersons’ performance of I Put a Spell on You, the powerful love between Binx the cat and his sister Emily (not to mention Bette Midler’s performance!) is strong enough to bring any patron in for a viewing of the movie. Try hosting regular community movie nights that will attract the whole family. Yes, your library may not have recliner seats and a popcorn machine, but the community atmosphere your library can create will keep your patrons coming back for more. By making this gathering into a potluck, you could even expand your reach and attract other members of your community (while forgoing an extensive food budget).
Nontraditional offerings make the world go round at your public library. Take a look at What a Modern Public Library Looks Like Today for more insights on how to utilize resources at your library.