24. November 2014 · Comments Off on Dinner, A Movie, and Building Community at the Library · Categories: Uncategorized

With Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought I would focus on an idea that librarians could use to facilitate community interaction and meal sharing.

What’s this idea that I have in mind?

A pot luck dinner held at the library followed by a movie shown in the library followed by a discussion or interactive program held either in the library (or in the local community).

Where did this idea come from?

Earlier in the fall I got handed the May 2014 issue of Sojourners Magazine. When I was in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) one of my community members had a subscription and used to get the magazines in the mail on a monthly basis. The publication’s subtitle: Faith in Action for Social Justice matches the values of JVC and provided ideas for discussion and thought. It had been a while since I had seen one of these, but it brought me back to my JVC experience.

I turned to page 41 and read Gareth Higgins column entitled “If I were a Rich Man.”

The column starts out with noting that author James Patterson (every library will have his books on their shelves) generously established a million dollar fund to support independent bookstores. Please note that my last posting discussed the role of private individuals, in particular venture capitalists willing to lose their investments as highlighted in the WSJ article, as possible funders of “crazy projects” that librarians may have. Higgins is dreaming as well in his article, but with an emphasis on brick and mortar independent theaters.

So what would Higgins like to see with a million dollars worth of funding?

A movement away from big box industrial style movie theaters with “shoebox” seats and “25 minutes of advertisements” would be top priority. Higgins wants the movie viewing experience to “invite a sense of home” and he would upgrade seating, lighting, audio, projection, and just about everything else to make it happen.

Potluck dinners would be held at 5:30PM, the movie would show at 6:30PM, and then interactive style activities would take place after the film. Higgins notes a few examples. After seeing Jaws there could be a discussion of humanity’s “role in the destruction and after seeing Singin’ in the Rain the audience could dance.

Are libraries out there building community with film? Are we working with local independent theaters to reach our communities? Perhaps it is time to test run Higgins’ ideas. Even though we may not yet have the funding to do what Higgins wants we can take baby steps in that direction.

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